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J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Mar;49(3):1534-40.

Authentication of vegetable oils by bulk and molecular carbon isotope analyses with emphasis on olive oil and pumpkin seed oil.

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Institut de Minéralogie et Géochimie, Université de Lausanne, BFSH-2, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


The authenticity of vegetable oils consumed in Slovenia and Croatia was investigated by carbon isotope analysis of the individual fatty acids by the use of gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS), and through carbon isotope analysis of the bulk oil. The fatty acids from samples of olive, pumpkin, sunflower, maize, rape, soybean, and sesame oils were separated by alkaline hydrolysis and derivatized to methyl esters for chemical characterization by capillary gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) prior to isotopic analysis. Enrichment in heavy carbon isotope ((13)C) of the bulk oil and of the individual fatty acids are related to (1) a thermally induced degradation during processing (deodorization, steam washing, or bleaching), (2) hydrolytic rancidity (lipolysis) and oxidative rancidity of the vegetable oils during storage, and (3) the potential blend with refined oil or other vegetable oils. The impurity or admixture of different oils may be assessed from the delta(13)C(16:0) vs. delta(13)C(18:1) covariations. The fatty acid compositions of Slovenian and Croatian olive oils are compared with those from the most important Mediterranean producer countries (Spain, Italy, Greece, and France).

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