Department of Analytical Chemistry. Institute of Fine Chemistry and Nanochemistry, University of Córdoba, Campus de Rabanales, Marie Curie Annex Building, E-14071 Córdoba Spain. Electronic address: [Email]
Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olives (the fruit of Olea europea). It is one of the most important ingredients of the Mediterranean diet, due to its health benefits. Depending on its quality, olive oil can be classified as extra virgin (EVOO), virgin (VOO) and lampante (LOO). Currently, an official method defines the quality parameters of the different categories of olive oil using different analytical techniques and a sensory analysis through a Panel Test. However, the evaluation of olive oil quality by tasting panels has some drawbacks, such as the subjectivity of the analysis and the lack of panels accredited outside Spain. For this reason, fast, simple and reliable analytical methods, which can differentiate the categories of olive oil are needed. In this work, the potential of a method using capillary electrophoresis (CE) with ultraviolet (UV) detection as an additional method to the ones already included in the official method has been investigated. The separations were performed using a 45 mM sodium tetraborate buffer (pH 9), and the analytes were measured at 200 nm. For chemometric model construction, the whole electrophoretic profile was processed. It required a correction of migration time shift, which was solved using two internal standards (naphthol and benzoic acid), and a correction of the drift baseline. The results obtained after applying the method to 130 olive oil samples are very promising, achieving success rates above 91%. Finally, the use of all information found in the electropherogram was compared with that based on the selection and integration of only some peaks.