`Researchers Develop Cheaper, More Effective NMR Techniques to Test Olive Oil - Olive Oil Times

Researchers Develop Cheaper, More Effective NMR Techniques to Test Olive Oil

By Paolo DeAndreis
Jan. 3, 2023 17:31 UTC

A new method to authen­ti­cate and locate the ori­gin of olive oil sam­ples is the sub­ject of recent research pub­lished in Science of Food.

A team of inter­na­tional researchers suc­cess­fully ver­i­fied the grade of unmarked olive oil sam­ples using a sin­gle droplet and bench­top-sized equip­ment.

According to the researchers, their nuclear mag­netic res­o­nance (NMR) method is cheaper and sim­pler than other meth­ods since it does not require large facil­i­ties or a lab­o­ra­tory envi­ron­ment. Additionally, oper­at­ing the equip­ment does not require a highly-skilled, ded­i­cated tech­ni­cian.

See Also:Chemical Authentication Process Can Verify Olive Oil Origins

The sci­en­tists noted the new approach is also faster than other meth­ods as the tiny olive oil sam­ples do not need pre-treat­ment before analy­sis.

In their tri­als, the sci­en­tists used the tech­nique to val­i­date the authen­tic­ity of extra vir­gin olive oil and ver­ify vir­gin olive oils and some refined olive oils. Olive oil sam­ples were col­lected in Braga, Portugal, and through online sale chan­nels.

The new method allowed the researchers to cor­rectly iden­tify the 95 olive oil sam­ple grades out of 100. The result is sig­nif­i­cantly higher than other meth­ods, such as near-infrared spec­troscopy (84 out of 100) and ultra­vi­o­let-vis­i­ble spec­troscopy (73 out of 100).

The authors said tra­di­tional NMR approaches are affected by sev­eral draw­backs, such as costly cryo­genic cool­ing gases and com­pli­cated pre-analy­sis steps.”

They added that none of the pre­vi­ous meth­ods are sim­ple to use, [they all] require min­i­mal sam­ple prepa­ra­tion, nor present short turn-around time.”

More specif­i­cally, the new method deploys NMR relax­om­e­try, a proven method to com­pare olive oil sam­ple microstruc­tures to known bench­marks rapidly.

The analy­sis is meant to iden­tify the slight­est dif­fer­ences among olive oil sam­ples, such as their phys­io­chem­i­cal com­po­si­tion or mol­e­c­u­lar microen­vi­ron­ment. Those dif­fer­ences induce sub­stan­tial changes in the relax­ation mech­a­nism, allow­ing pre­cise detec­tion.

The researchers also believe their approach can be used to iden­tify olive oil prod­ucts based on the regions of ori­gin.

The new method accounts for geno­typic, envi­ron­men­tal and farm­ing dis­tinc­tions to help locate the sam­ple ori­gin using a spe­cific dataset of olive oil traits com­monly used in such analy­ses.

Due to machine learn­ing tech­niques, the new method is designed to improve its per­for­mance over time as more sam­ples are ana­lyzed and com­pared.

Recently, NMR has been used to mea­sure phe­no­lic com­pounds in extra vir­gin olive oil, iden­tify olive oil blends and dis­cern the trans­for­ma­tional processes applied to the prod­uct. Several indus­trial appli­ca­tions of dif­fer­ent NMR meth­ods are avail­able on the mar­ket.

Due to the proven abil­ity of NMR to iden­tify polyphe­nols, the International Olive Council was con­sid­er­ing list­ing the method as a way for pro­duc­ers to iden­tify their olive oil as extra vir­gin on the labels.


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