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Food Chem. 2012 Sep 15;134(2):1192-8. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.02.154. Epub 2012 Mar 10.

MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry detection of extra-virgin olive oil adulteration with hazelnut oil by analysis of phospholipids using an ionic liquid as matrix and extraction solvent.

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  • 1Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Dipartimento di Chimica, Via Orabona, 4, 70126-Bari, Italy.


The adulteration of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) with hazelnut oil (HO) is frequent and constitutes a serious concern both for oil suppliers and consumers. The high degree of similarity between the two oils as regards triacylglycerol, total sterol and fatty acid profile, complicates the detection of low percentages of HO in EVOO. However, phospholipids (PLs) are usually present in seed oils at a concentration range of 10-20 g/kg, while the amounts of PLs in VOOs are 300-400 times lower. Thus, in this work a sample pretreatment procedure focused towards the selective PLs extraction was developed; the Bligh-Dyer extraction procedure was modified introducing the ionic liquid resulting from the combination of TBA (tributylamine) and CHCA (α-Cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid) as extraction solvent. The selective extraction and enrichment of phospholipids from EVOO and HO samples was then achieved. The relevant extracts were analyzed by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) using the same ionic liquid TBA-CHCA as MALDI matrix, that was found to be very suitable for PLs analysis. In fact, a remarkable increase of the phospholipids signals, with a simultaneous decrease of those relevant to triacylglycerols and diacylglycerols, was observed in the relevant mass spectra. The applicability of the whole method to the individuation of the presence of HO in EVOO was demonstrated by the analysis of EVOO samples progressively adulterated with variable quantities of HO, that was still detectable at a 1% contamination level.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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