The oxidation of lipids is an important phenomenon with ramifications for disciplines that range from food science to cell biology. The development and characterization of tools and techniques to monitor lipid oxidation are thus relevant. Of particular significance in this regard are tools that facilitate the study of oxidations at interfaces in heterogeneous samples (e.g., oil-in-water emulsions, cell membranes). In this article, we establish a proof-of-principle for methods to initiate and then monitor such oxidations with high spatial resolution. The experiments were performed using oil-in-water emulsions of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) prepared from cod liver oil. We produced singlet oxygen at a point near the oil-water interface of a given PUFA droplet in a spatially localized two-photon photosensitized process. We then followed the oxidation reactions initiated by this process with the fluorescence-based imaging technique of structured illumination microscopy (SIM). We conclude that the approach reported herein has attributes well-suited to the study of lipid oxidation in heterogeneous samples.
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