Review of the use of phytosterols as a detection tool for adulteration of olive oil with hazelnut oil

Sodeif Azadmard-Damirchi
Food Additives & Contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure & Risk Assessment 2010, 27 (1): 1-10
Adulteration of virgin olive oil with less expensive oils such as hazelnut oil is a serious problem for quality control of olive oil. Detection of the presence of hazelnut oil in olive oil at low percentages (<20%) is limited with current official standard methods. In this review, various classes of phytosterols in these two oils are assessed as possible markers to detect adulterated olive oil. The composition of 4-desmethyl- and 4-monomethylsterols is similar in both oils, but the 4,4'-dimethylsterols differ. Lupeol and an unknown (lupane skeleton) compound from 4,4'-dimethylsterols are exclusively present in hazelnut oil and can be used as markers via GC-MS monitoring to detect adulteration at levels as low as 2%. The phytosterol classes need to be separated and enriched by a preparative method prior to analysis by GC or GC/MS; these SPE and TLC methods are also described in this review.

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