A Cheap, Easy Way to Quantify Biophenols for the EU Health Claim

A group of researchers has shown how an easy method can be applied by small labs and producers to certify compliance with Europe's polyphenols health claim.

By Ylenia Granitto
Jan. 24, 2017 10:18 UTC

A group of researchers, includ­ing Enrico Valli, Alessandra Bendini, Giuseppe Di Lecce and Tullia Gallina Toschi from the University of Bologna, Patricia Reboredo-Rodríguez and Jesus Simal-Gándara from the University of Vigo, pro­posed how to use a sim­ple ana­lyt­i­cal method to quan­tify the phe­no­lic con­tent of extra vir­gin olive oils in order to sat­isfy the require­ments intro­duced by the EU Regulation 432/2012, which estab­lishes a list of per­mit­ted health claims made on foods.

The team pub­lished its find­ings in the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology.

As it is well known, there are sophis­ti­cated chro­mato­graphic tech­niques, such as the high-per­for­mance liq­uid chro­matog­ra­phy (HPLC) cou­pled to ultra­vi­o­let-vis­i­ble or mass spec­trom­e­try detec­tor that are used to eval­u­ate the phe­no­lic con­tent of vir­gin olive oils,” Di Lecce explained.

However, these sys­tems require very expen­sive ana­lyt­i­cal tools and qual­i­fied tech­ni­cians, while the promis­ing results obtained in this pre­lim­i­nary study show that the sim­ple and cheap col­ori­met­ric assay based on the use of the Folin-Ciocalteu (FC) reagent can be also effi­ciently applied to ver­ify the com­pli­ance to the polyphe­nols health claim intro­duced by the EU Regulation.”

In order to prop­erly con­vey the healthy prop­er­ties of extra vir­gin olive oil accord­ing to the EU reg­u­la­tion 432/2012, it is nec­es­sary:

- to share an ana­lyt­i­cal pro­to­col to deter­mine the amount of hydrox­y­ty­rosol and its deriv­a­tives hav­ing a demon­strated effect of pro­tec­tion of blood lipids from oxida­tive stress;

- to check, based on this pro­to­col, if EVOOs sat­isfy the EU require­ments for includ­ing the specific health claim on the label.

The FC method is a well-known col­ori­met­ric assay that requires only com­mon and cheap equip­ment and can be exe­cuted in any lab­o­ra­tory. It is com­monly used for the eval­u­a­tion of phe­no­lic com­pounds in hydro-alco­holic extracts of EVOO.

Based on a pre­lim­i­nary study, the researchers pro­posed using hydrox­y­ty­rosol to express the results obtained with the FC method. Tests car­ried out by sta­tis­ti­cal soft­ware found FC data to be fully com­pa­ra­ble with those obtained, after hydrol­y­sis, with the HPLC-UV method using hydrox­y­ty­rosol and tyrosol to express the results,” Enrico Valli con­cluded.

The promis­ing find­ings, which need to be con­firmed by ana­lyz­ing a large num­ber of sam­ples to draw final con­clu­sions, show how an easy method can be effi­ciently applied by small labs and pro­duc­ers to ver­ify or cer­tify the com­pli­ance to the polyphe­nols health claim. This is in agree­ment with the increas­ing need to pro­pose rapid and inno­v­a­tive instru­men­tal approaches for qual­ity and authen­tic­ity of olive oils, as reported by some of the authors in a recently pub­lished review.

With €5 mil­lion of finan­cial sup­port, the Horizon 2020 EU OLEUM Project, recently won by a con­sor­tium coor­di­nated by Tullia Gallina Toschi (University of Bologna), has the over­all objec­tive to assure the qual­ity and authen­tic­ity of olive oils at a global scale.

Within the frame­work of this project, a spe­cific task led by Maria Tsimidou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) will be devoted to the setup of a reli­able pro­to­col for the deter­mi­na­tion of phe­no­lic com­pounds in vir­gin olive oils accord­ing to the health claim. Further study, involv­ing many lab­o­ra­to­ries around the world, will be made pos­si­ble by the OLEUM Project to inno­vate and har­mo­nize the quan­ti­ta­tive deter­mi­na­tion of olive oil polyphe­nols.


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