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Food Chem. 2012 Nov 15;135(2):610-5. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.04.097. Epub 2012 Apr 30.

Analysis of free and esterified sterols in edible oils by online reversed phase liquid chromatography-gas chromatography (RPLC-GC) using the through oven transfer adsorption desorption (TOTAD) interface.

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Facultad de Educación de Albacete, Departamento de Química-Física, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Campus Universitario s/n., 02071 Albacete, Spain.


An online reversed phase liquid chromatography-gas chromatography (RPLC-GC) method is proposed to quantify free, total and esterified sterols of edible oils. To determine free sterols the diluted oils are injected into the liquid chromatograph, where free sterols are separated from triglycerides and the sterol fraction is automatically transferred to the gas chromatograph to be analysed. To determine total sterols the samples were saponified with potassium hydroxide in ethanolic solution and the unsaponifiable fraction was extracted with diethyl ether. The extract was then analysed by RPLC-GC, avoiding the laborious thin layer chromatography step used in the Official European Union (EU) Method. The relative standard deviations (RSDs) from the absolute peak area varied from 7.6% to 15.8%. Limits of detection (LODs) were less than 8.5 mg/kg. No variability in retention time was observed. The method was applied to the determination of total sterols in edible oil samples and the results were compared with those obtained with the Official EU Method. Good agreement was found between both methods, except in the case of campesterol.

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