Food Analytical Methods

, Volume 10, Issue 7, pp 2125–2131 | Cite as

Fast Automated Determination of Total Tocopherol Content in Virgin Olive Oil Using a Single Multicommuted Luminescent Flow Method

  • Felipe J. Lara-Ortega
  • Bienvenida Gilbert-López
  • Juan F. García-Reyes
  • Antonio Molina-Díaz


Tocopherols are natural fluorophores of great importance for the characterization and authentication of virgin olive oil. Herein, a single automatic multicommuted flow method has been developed for the determination of total tocopherol content as well as the semi-quantitative estimation of α-tocopherol in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) samples. Only appropriate dilution of samples with 2-propanol was necessary for their direct analysis by a multicommuted flow injection (MCFIA) manifold based on three solenoid valves with fluorescence detection. The peak height at λ em = 330 nm (emission) with λ exc at 296 nm was used as analytical signal. Linear response was observed within the range from 50 to 350 mg of tocopherols (expressed as α-tocopherol kg−1 olive oil), suitable to cover the usual range for tocopherols in (extra) virgin olive oil ((E)VOO)). The results were consistent with those obtained by reversed-phase HPLC reference method, whereas the analysis time was significantly reduced. The sample frequency of the proposed automatic method was close to 40 samples h−1, in contrast to typically 15–30 min required by HPLC. The method is fast, straightforward, cost-effective, and easy to implement in routine laboratories for screening purposes.


Olive oil analysis α-Tocopherol estimation Tocopherols determination Flow injection analysis Multicommutation 



The authors acknowledge funding support from the Regional Government of Andalusia (Spain), Junta de Andalucía (Project AGR-6066 and Research Group FQM323). F.J.L.-O. acknowledges a PhD student scholarship from MINECO (Ref. BES-2013-064014). B.G.L. acknowledges MINECO for her Juan de la Cierva postdoctoral research contract (ref. JCI-2012-12972).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Felipe J. Lara-Ortega declares that he has no conflict of interest. Bienvenida Gilbert-López declares that she has no conflict of interest. Juan F. García-Reyes declares that he has no conflict of interest. Antonio Molina-Díaz declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Not applicable.

Supplementary material

12161_2016_784_MOESM1_ESM.docx (241 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 241 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felipe J. Lara-Ortega
    • 1
  • Bienvenida Gilbert-López
    • 2
  • Juan F. García-Reyes
    • 1
  • Antonio Molina-Díaz
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Analytical Chemistry Research Group, Department of Physical and Analytical ChemistryUniversity of JaénJaénSpain
  2. 2.Foodomics Laboratory, Bioactivity and Food Analysis DepartmentInstitute of Food Science Research-CIAL (UAM + CSIC)MadridSpain
  3. 3.Center for Advanced Studies in Olives Grove and Olive Oils (CEAOAO), Science and Technology Park GEOLITMengíbarSpain

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