Characterization and authentication of a novel vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids, sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis L.) oil

Food Chem. 2012 Sep 15;134(2):1173-80. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.02.143. Epub 2012 Mar 3.


Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (ω-3's), whether from fish oils, flax or supplements, can protect against cardiovascular disease. Finding plant-based sources of the essential ω-3's could provide a sustainable, renewable and inexpensive source of ω-3's, compared to fish oils. Our objective was to develop a rapid test to characterize and detect adulteration in sacha inchi oils, a Peruvian seed containing higher levels of ω-3's in comparison to other oleaginous seeds. A temperature-controlled ZnSe ATR mid-infrared benchtop and diamond ATR mid-infrared portable handheld spectrometers were used to characterize sacha inchi oil and evaluate its oxidative stability compared to commercial oils. A soft independent model of class analogy (SIMCA) and partial least squares regression (PLSR) analyzed the spectral data. Fatty acid profiles showed that sacha inchi oil (44% linolenic acid) had levels of PUFA similar to those of flax oils. PLSR showed good correlation coefficients (R(2)>0.9) between reference tests and spectra from infrared devices, allowing for rapid determination of fatty acid composition and prediction of oxidative stability. Oils formed distinct clusters, allowing the evaluation of commercial sacha inchi oils from Peruvian markets and showed some prevalence of adulteration. Determining oil adulteration and quality parameters, by using the ATR-MIR portable handheld spectrometer, allowed for portability and ease-of-use, making it a great alternative to traditional testing methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Euphorbiaceae / chemistry*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / chemistry*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / standards
  • Food Contamination / analysis
  • Hot Temperature
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Plant Oils / standards
  • Quality Control
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Spectrophotometry, Infrared
  • Vegetables / chemistry*
  • Vegetables / standards


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Plant Oils