Fatty acid and stable carbon isotope characterization of Camelina sativa oil: implications for authentication

J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jan 28;57(2):579-85. doi: 10.1021/jf8028144.


The importance of authenticity characterization is an increasing and pressing requirement for all foods. Vegetable oil is one of the most studied foods because of its nutritional and medicinal properties in a correct diet. In this study, a total of 53 Camelina sativa samples, from all known growing areas, were chemically and isotopically characterized. The fatty acid content of camelina oil was determined by gas chromatography (GC), and the ratios of stable carbon isotopes ((13)C/(12)C) of individual fatty acids and seed/bulk oil were determined by gas chromatography-combustion-stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS) and elemental analysis-stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS). A total of 17 different fatty acids were detected by GC, with omega3 R-linolenic acid (C(18:3n3)) being the most abundant (29.7-40.0 wt %). Oleic acid (C(18:1n9)), linoleic acid (C(18:2n6)) and eicosenoic acid (C(20:1n9)) all belong to the second group of major fatty acids. The stable carbon isotopic values (delta(13)C) fell into a range typical for C(3) plants. The use of delta(13)C(18:2n6) vs delta(13)C(18:3n3) correlation could show cases where impurity or adulteration is suspected, whereas principal component analysis clearly separates oil samples from different continents. Preliminary results on the camelina oil authentication procedure provide a basis for the investigation of geographical origin and the further distinction between camelina and camelina refined or other, less expensive oils.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brassicaceae / chemistry*
  • Carbon Isotopes / analysis*
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Fatty Acids
  • Plant Oils