Pomegranate oil analysis with emphasis on MALDI-TOF/MS triacylglycerol fingerprinting

J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Dec 12;55(25):10405-13. doi: 10.1021/jf072741q. Epub 2007 Nov 16.


Pomegranate oil (PGO) is a unique and quite rare edible oil produced from Punica granatum L. seeds. It is considered to be a powerful health-benefiting agent, due to its antioxidative, anticancer, and antilipidemic properties. The aim of this study was to achieve a comprehensive and detailed profile of the different components of PGO. The fatty acid profile and phytosterol composition were determined by GC-MS; the triacylglycerol (TAG) compositions were profiled by the mass spectrometry tool of MALDI-TOF/MS. Results showed linolenic acid (18:3) to be the predominant fatty acid in the PGO (64-83%), as previously reported. The linolenic acid fraction was composed of four different chromatographically separated peaks that are assumed, according to MS data (based on both FAME and DMOX derivatization), to be attributed to different geometric isomers of conjugated linolenic acid (CLNA), punicic acid (18:3: 9-cis,11-trans,13-cis) being the major isomer. The MALDI-TOF/MS finger printing results showed the different TAG compositions present in the PGO, the major ones being LnLnLn and LnLnP. This unique PGO TAG fingerprint enables it to be differentiated from most other common edible oils. Phytosterols were found in quite a high concentration in the PGO (4089-6205 mg/kg), about 3-4-fold higher than in soybean oil. A detailed profile of the phytosterols in the PGO showed a wide variety, the major phytosterols being beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol. This study depicts a new detailed analysis of PGO, showing great potential for further research regarding the physiological effects of specific valuable components in pomegranate oil.

MeSH terms

  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Lythraceae / chemistry*
  • Phytosterols / analysis
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization*
  • Triglycerides / analysis*
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid / analysis


  • Fatty Acids
  • Phytosterols
  • Plant Oils
  • Triglycerides
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid