Phytic acid is a natural plant antioxidant constituting 1-5% of most cereals, nuts, legumes, oil seeds, pollen and spores. By virtue of forming a unique iron chelate it suppresses iron-catalyzed oxidative reactions and may serve a potent antioxidant function in the preservation of seeds. By the same mechanism dietary phytic acid may lower the incidence of colonic cancer and protect against other inflammatory bowel diseases. Its addition to foods inhibits lipid peroxidation and concomitant oxidative spoilage, such as discoloration, putrefaction, and syneresis. A multitude of other industrial applications are based on the antioxidant function of phytic acid.