Peroxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid in aqueous micellar solution proceeds through a free-radical chain mechanism and is accompanied by the formation of conjugated dienes, some in the form of hydroperoxides. In the course of an investigation of radiation-induced oxidation of aqueous sodium linoleate, we have measured three indexes of peroxidation-conjugated dienes, hydroperoxides and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances-by means of absorption spectroscopy, high-pressure liquid chromatography and spectrofluorimetry, respectively. There are linear correlations between the amounts of conjugated dienes, hydroperoxides and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances. The radiolytic yields have been determined from the radiation dose dependence of the three markers of peroxidation as a function of sodium linoleate concentration. The results obtained indicate a strong effect of the concentrations of oxygen and linoleate on the yields of the products. The yields at different lipid concentrations display a large increase in chain propagation length; this is discussed in terms of the effect of micellar size.

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