Authentication of edible oils is a long-term issue in food safety, and becomes particularly important with the emergence and wide spread of gutter oils in recent years. Due to the very high analytical demand and diversity of gutter oils, a high throughput analytical method and a versatile strategy for authentication of mixed edible oils and gutter oils are highly desirable. In this study, an improved matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) method has been developed for direct analysis of edible oils. This method involved on-target sample loading, automatic data acquisition and simple data processing. MALDI-MS spectra with high quality and high reproducibility have been obtained using this method, and a preliminary spectral database of edible oils has been set up. The authenticity of an edible oil sample can be determined by comparing its MALDI-MS spectrum and principal component analysis (PCA) results with those of its labeled oil in the database. This method is simple and the whole process only takes several minutes for analysis of one oil sample. We demonstrated that the method was sensitive to change in oil compositions and can be used for measuring compositions of mixed oils. The capability of the method for determining mislabeling enables it for rapid screening of gutter oils since fraudulent mislabeling is a common feature of gutter oils.
Keywords: Gutter oils; Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry; Mixed edible oils; Principal component analysis; Sample preparation; Spectral database.
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