• noun a substance which prevents oxidation, used to prevent materials such as rubber from deteriorating and added to processed food to prevent oil going bad


  • A substance that covers, or that is added to something else, to retard or prevent oxidation. In electronics, it is generally used to avoid oxidation by air and/or water.


  • A chemical compound of synthetic or natural origin which retards the rate of reaction of the oxygen in the air with foods, thus slowing down the development of off flavours in fats and the colouring of cut fruit, etc. E numbers 300 to 321. Typical examples are vitamin E (from soya beans), vitamin C (from citrus fruit or made synthetically), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and propyl gallate. The last three are synthetic.


  • noun a substance which makes oxygen less damaging, e.g. in the body or in foods or plastics


  • a chemical added to wine during the winemaking process to reduce the spoiling effects of oxygen, e.g. ascorbic acid