Olive oil adulterated with hazelnut oils: simulation to identify possible risks to allergic consumers

M Arlorio, J D Coisson, M Bordiga, F Travaglia, C Garino, L Zuidmeer, R Van Ree, M G Giuffrida, A Conti, A Martelli
Food Additives & Contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure & Risk Assessment 2010, 27 (1): 11-8
According to European Union Regulation EC 1531/2001, olive oil labelled as "extra-virgin" should be cold-pressed and contain no refined oil or oil from other oleaginous seeds or nuts. Adulteration of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) with hazelnut oil (HAO) is a serious concern both for oil suppliers and consumers. The high degree of similarity between the two fats complicates the detection of low percentages of HAO in EVOO. Many analytical approaches have been developed in recent years to trace HAO in EVOO, principally based on chromatographic analyses, differential scanning calorimetry or nuclear magnetic resonance. In addition adulteration of EVOO with HAO may introduce hazelnut-derived allergens. The aim of this work was to analyse the protein and allergen content of EVOO intentionally spiked with raw cold-pressed HAO or solvent-extracted HAO. SDS-PAGE analysis confirmed the presence of hazelnut proteins in solvent-extracted HAO with molecular masses ranging 10-60 kDa. In contrast, cold-pressed HAO showed no traces of protein. In spiked EVOO, solvent-extracted HAO was still detectable at a 1% contamination level. Several bands on SDS-PAGE migrated at apparent molecular masses coinciding with known allergens, such as Cor a 1 (approximately 17 kDa), Cor a 2 (approximately 14 kDa), Cor a 8 (approximately 12 kDa), oleosin (approximately 17 kDa) and Cor a 9 (approximately 60 kDa). MALDI-TOF MS analysis confirmed the presence of two oleosin isoforms and of Cor a 9. Immunoblotting demonstrated that an allergic patient with known reactivity to Cor a 1 and Cor a 2 recognized a 17-kDa band in solvent-extracted HAO. In conclusion, we have shown that adulteration of extra virgin olive oil with solvent-extracted hazelnut oil can be traced by simple SDS-PAGE analysis, and that adulteration introduces a potential risk for hazelnut allergic patients.

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