Grasas y Aceites, Vol 53, No 1 (2002)

Emerging techniques in vegetable oil analysis using stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry

Simon D. Kelly
The School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom

Christopher Rhodes
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Central Science Laboratory, United Kingdom


As the practice of vegetable oil adulteration becomes more sophisticated, the possibility to subvert detection using established techniques such as capillary gas chromatography is increasing. One of the most powerful techniques to be used in food authenticity studies is stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry (SIRMS) which utilises differences in the natural abundance of the stable isotopes of the ‘light’ bio-elements hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, oxygen and sulfur to detect food fraud. SIRMS has found application in the authentication of a wide range of foodstuffs, including fruit juices, wines, spirits, honey and to detect the adulteration of flavour compounds with synthetic analogues. This papers reviews the current state-of-the-art for the authentication of vegetable oils using SIRMS and highlights emergent techniques such as compound- and position specific-isotope mass spectrometry. These latter developments offer the potential to provide more rapid and improved detection of the economic adulteration of vegetable oils.


Analysis; Stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry; Vegetable oil

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Copyright (c) 2002 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

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