Quality control of edible oils with FT-NIR Spectroscopy

Traditional chemical and physical methods for analyzing fats and oils are time-consuming and require hazardous substances. Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy offers a fast, non-destructive alternative with multiple component analysis, saving time and costs in the edible oil industry.

Fats and oils are recognised as essential nutrients in the human diet, being consumed in a variety of forms. Different indicator parameters are used to assess the quality of edible fats and oils, including the following:

  • Iodine value (IV)
  • Free fatty acids (FFA)
  • Trans fatty acids (TFA)
  • Fatty acid profile (C16:0, C18:0, C18:1, C18:2, C18:3 …)
  • Various other parameters

Among those parameters, the TFA content is now a mandatory legal labelling requirement under new guidelines, eg, from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

The traditional analyses are generally carried out using standardised chemical and physical methods sanctioned by the American Oil Chemist Society (AOCS) and/or the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC). However, these methods are designed for analysis of only one specific parameter and tend to be tedious, time-consuming, expensive and often require hazardous solvents and reagents. With gas chromatography (GC), even though IV, trans and fatty acid profiles can be analysed simultaneously, the analysis itself takes more than half an hour, not mention the time and effort spent on sample preparation.