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Analysis of pomegranate seed oil for the presence of jacaric acid

Sassano, Gary, Sanderson, Paul, Franx, Johan, Groot, Pascal, van Straalen, Jeroen, Bassaganya-Riera, Josep
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2009 v.89 no.6 pp. 1046-1052
Punica granatum, pomegranates, seed oils, conjugated linoleic acid, gas chromatography, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
BACKGROUND: Pomegranate seed oil is predominantly composed of triglycerides containing unsaturated fatty acids, including high levels of conjugated linolenic acids (CLnAs). The major CLnA component, punicic acid, is known to possess biological activity. Consequently, it is desirable to obtain a detailed characterisation of pomegranate seed oil fatty acid profiles, including molecules potentially co-eluting with punicic acid, such as jacaric acid.RESULTS: Conjugated fatty acid profiles of a commercial sample of cold pressed pomegranate seed oil were characterised in detail by both gas chromatography of methyl esters and by ¹³C NMR spectroscopy. The methylation procedures were found to be critical for determination of accurate fatty acid profiles. GC analysis was unable to resolve jacaric acid from punicic acid, the major fatty acid present in pomegranate seed oil. To establish the presence or absence of jacaric acid, ¹³C NMR was employed.CONCLUSION: This is the first study to investigate pomegranate seed oil for the presence of jacaric acid. Punicic acid, eleostearic acid, and catalpic acid were confirmed by ¹³C NMR, but jacaric acid was not found. Thus, we have shown that punicic acid levels may be accurately measured by gas chromatography alone in pomegranate seed oil.