Skip to main content

Nondestructive NMR determination of oil composition in transformed canola seeds


Magic-angle spinning (MAS) 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is a convenient method for nondestructive, quantitative characterization of seed oil composition. We describe results for intact hybrid and transformed canola seeds. The MAS 13C NMR technique complements and agrees with gas chromatography results. The spectral resolution approaches that of neat, liquid oils. MAS 13C NMR data allow quantitative analysis of major oil components, including saturates and oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acyl chains. 13C NMR directly and quantitatively elucidates, triglyceride regiochemistry and acyl chain cis-trans isomers that cannot be quickly detected by other methods. MAS 13C NMR can serve as the primary method for development of near-infrared seed oil calibrations. These NMR methods are nondestructive and attractive for plant-breeding programs or other studies (e.g., functional genomics) where loss of seed viability is inconvenient.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.



cross-polarization, magic-angle spinning


gas chromatography


GC-flame-ionization detection


GC-mass spectrometry


high erucic


high-performance liquid chromatography-MS


Iow erucic


near infrared


nuclear Overhauser enhancement


nuclear magnetic resonance


magic-angle spinning; sat, saturated






  1. (1991) Analysis of Oilseeds, Fats and Fatty Foods. (Rossell, J.B., and Pritchard, J.L.R., eds.), Elsevier Science Publishing, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  2. (1997) New Techniques and Applications in Lipid Analysis (McDonald, R.E., and Mossoba, M.M., eds.), AOCS Press, Champaign.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Velasco, L., Fernandez-Martinez, J.M., and De Haro, A. (1997) Determination of the Fatty Acid Composition of the Oil in Intact-Seed Mustard by Near-Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy, J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 74, 1595–1602.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Schaefer, J., and Stejskal, E.O. (1974) Carbon-13 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Measurement of Oil Composition in Single Viable Soybeans, J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 51 210–213.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Schaefer, J., and Stejskal, E.O. (1975) Carbon-13 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Analysis of Intact Oilseeds, J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 52, 366–369.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Rutar, V., Burgar, M., Blinc, R., and Ehrenberg, L. (1977) Carbon-13 NMR Determination of the Oil Composition in Individual Plant Seeds, J. Magnet. Reson. 27, 83–90.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Chen, S., Elofson, R.M., and MacTaggert, J.M. (1979) Carbon-13 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Studies of Lipids and Starch Digestion in Intact Seeds, J. Agric. Food Chem. 27, 435–438.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Albornoz, F., and Leon, V. (1980) Nordestructive Characterization of Seed Oil Using Carbon-13 FT-NMR, Acta Cient. Venez. 31, 20–23.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Leal, K.Z., Costa, V.E.U., Siedl, P.R., Campos, M.P.A., and Colnago, L. (1981) Immediate Analysis of the Oil Content of Seeds by Carbon-13 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Cienc. Cult. (Sao Paulo) 33, 1475–1484.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Yoshida, M., Kano, H., Ishida, N., and Yoshida, T. (1989) Nondestructive Analysis of the Oil Composition of Soybean Seeds by Natural Abundance Carbon-13 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Agric. Biol. Chem. 53, 1395–1400.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Seidl, P.R., and Santos do Nascimento, R. (1990) Analysis of Tropical Oilseeds by Carbon-13 NMR, Spectrosc. Int. J. 8, 183–189.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Gambhir, P.N. (1994) 13C NMR Spectroscopy of Intact Oilseeds—A Rapid Method for Measurement of Fatty Acid Composition, Indian Acad. Sci. Proc. Chem. Sci. 106, 1583–1594.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Ye, C., Sun, B., Qui, J., and Yuan, H. (1986) Magic Angle Spinning NMR of Oilseeds, Kexue Tongbao (foreign Lang. ed.) 31, 16–20.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Rutar, V., Kovac, M., and Lahajnar, G. (1988) Improved NMR Spectra of Liquid Components in Heterogeneous Samples, J. Magnet. Reson. 80, 133–138.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Rutar, V., Kovac, M., and Lahajnar, G. (1989) Nondestructive Study of Liquids in Single Fir Seeds Using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Magic Angle Sample Spinning, J. Am. Oil. Chem. Soc. 66, 961–965.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Rutar, V. (1989) Magic Angle Sample Spinning NMR Spectroscopy of Liquids as a Nondestructive Method for Studies of Plant Seeds, J. Agric. Food Chem. 37, 67–70.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Wollenberg, K. (1991) Quantitative Triacylglycerol Analysis of Whole Vegetable Seeds by Proton and Carbon-13 Magic Angle Sample Spinning NMR Spectroscopy, J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 68, 391–400.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Ye, C., Guo, Y., and Feng, Y. (1991) MAS NMR Measurement of Oil Content in Oilseed, Chin. Sci. Bull. 36, 597–601.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Keifer, P.A. (1997) High-Resolution NMR Techniques for Solid-Phase Synthesis and Combinatorial Chemistry, Drug Discovery Today 11, 468–478.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. (CNMR DB), Version 3.50, Advanced Chemical Development Inc., Toronto, Canada.

  21. Loughman, B.C., and Ratcliffe, R.G. (1984) Nuclar Magnetic Resonance and the Study of Plants, Avd. Plant Nutr. 1, 241–283.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Van Bruggen, P.C., Dachateau, C.S.M.J.E., Mooren, M.M.W., and van Oosten, H.J. (1998) Precision of Low Trans Fatty Acid Level Determination in Refined Oils. Results of a Collaborative Capillary Gas-Liquid Chromatography Study, J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 75, 483–488.

    Google Scholar 

  23. O’Keefe, S., Gaskins-Wright, S., Wiley, V., and Chen, I.-C. (1994) Levels of Trans Geometrical Isomers of Essential Fatty Acids in Some Unhydrogenated U.S. Vegetable Oils, J. Food Lipids 1, 165–176.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Shoolery, J.N. (1983) Applications of High Resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance to the Study of Lipids, Am. Oil Chem. Soc. Monogr. 220–240.

  25. Gillet, S., and Delpuech, J.J. (1980) Optimum Conditions for Nondestructive Quantitative Analysis by Carbon-13 NMR, J. Magnet. Reson. 38, 433–445.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to William C. Hutton.

About this article

Cite this article

Hutton, W.C., Garbow, J.R. & Hayes, T.R. Nondestructive NMR determination of oil composition in transformed canola seeds. Lipids 34, 1339–1346 (1999).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: