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A capillary electrophoresis–tandem mass spectrometry methodology for the determination of non-protein amino acids in vegetable oils as novel markers for the detection of adulterations in olive oils

Sánchez-Hernández, Laura, Marina, Maria Luisa, Crego, Antonio L.
Journal of chromatography 2011 v.1218 no.30 pp. 4944-4951
butanol, capillary electrophoresis, chromatography, citrulline, corn oil, derivatization, extra-virgin olive oil, gamma-aminobutyric acid, mass spectrometry, ornithine, soybean oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil
A new analytical methodology based on capillary electrophoresis–mass spectrometry (CE–MS²) is presented in this work, enabling the identification and determination of six non-protein amino acids (ornithine, β-alanine, GABA, alloisoleucine, citrulline and pyroglutamic acid) in vegetable oils. This methodology is based on a previous derivatization with butanol and subsequent separation using acidic conditions followed by on-line coupling to an ion trap analyzer for MS² detection established through an electrospray-coaxial sheath flow interface. The electrophoretic and interface parameters were optimized obtaining the separation of all compounds in less than 15min and with resolutions higher than 5. The proposed method was validated by assessing its accuracy, precision (RSD<7% for corrected peak areas), LODs and LOQs (between 0.04–0.19ng/g and 0.06–0.31ng/g, respectively) and linearity range (R²>0.99), and it was used in order to identify the selected non-protein amino acids in soybean oils, sunflower oils, corn oils and extra virgin olive oils. MS² experiments performed the fingerprint fragmentation of these compounds allowing to corroborate ornithine and alloisoleucine in seed oils but not in olive oils. The method was applied to identify and quantify olive oil adulterations with soybean oil detecting in a single run the amino acids in mixtures up to 2% (w/w). The results showed a high potential in using these compounds as novel markers for the detection of adulterations of extra virgin olive oils with seed oils. Thus, the developed method could be considered a simple, rapid and reliable method for the quality evaluation of extra virgin olive oil permitting its authentication.