New fatty acids found in vegetable oils

Characterize vegetable oils comprehensively

25-Sep-2023
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Whether in salad dressings, for sautéing and deep-frying, or in cake batter - vegetable oils are a key ingredient in food preparation. With a sales volume of almost 80 million liters per year and a market share of around 40 percent, rapeseed oil is the most popular vegetable oil in Germany. Scientists from the Department of food chemistry headed by Prof. Dr. Nils Helge Schebb have now succeeded in identifying previously unknown fatty acids in rapeseed and linseed oil. In this way, they were able to clearly identify the omega-3 fatty acid "densipolic acid" in these oils, which is currently the subject of little research, and determine its content.

The researchers hope that this will contribute to a basic understanding of the composition of plant oils and provide a new basis for investigating the authenticity, i.e. purity, of plant oils.

Vegetable oils play an important role in human nutrition as they are the main source of the essential (polyunsaturated) fatty acids linoleic acid (LA) and α-linolenic acid (ALA). The human body cannot produce essential fatty acids itself, but must absorb them through food. The consumption of vegetable oils such as rapeseed, sunflower or flaxseed oil has increased massively in the past century: More than 215 billion liters of vegetable oils are consumed worldwide every year.

Characterizing vegetable oils comprehensively

"Due to the relevance and the considerable share of vegetable oils in human nutrition, it is important to characterize these oils as comprehensively as possible," says Prof. Dr. Nils Helge Schebb. At the University of Wuppertal, the analysis of vegetable oils is one of the research areas of his working group. The (food) chemists are mainly concerned with the oxidation products of the fatty acids contained in the oils, the so-called oxylipins. In a recent study, Schebb's team, together with the Max Rubner Institute in Detmold, Germany, analyzed the oxylipin pattern in flaxseed, rapeseed and sunflower oil using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The oxylipins found were identified by using authentic reference standards, some of which were synthesized in the laboratory itself

"In the process, we were able to detect not only already known, but also unknown oxylipins - such as densipolic acid, which has been little described to date - in relevant concentrations," says Nils Schebb. Initial studies of their formation suggest that the oxylipins are formed under the action of enzymes (mainly FAD 3).

Results to be incorporated into future studies

Thus, the study as a whole provides unique data on the diverse oxylipin patterns in plant oils and helps to improve the understanding of the composition of plant oils. In future studies, in addition to more detailed investigations of oxylipin formation, the scientists also want to carry out further characterization of the substances found in order to be able to define new parameters for assessing oil quality.

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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Food analysis methods enable us to investigate the quality, safety and composition of our food. Whether in the traceability of food, the detection of contaminants or the verification of nutritional information - food analytics plays a crucial role in our health and nutrition. Welcome to the exciting world of food analytics!

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Topic World Food Analytics

Food analysis methods enable us to investigate the quality, safety and composition of our food. Whether in the traceability of food, the detection of contaminants or the verification of nutritional information - food analytics plays a crucial role in our health and nutrition. Welcome to the exciting world of food analytics!

15+ products
3 whitepaper
15+ brochures