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


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.

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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).

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Correspondence to Antonio Molina-Díaz.

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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.

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Lara-Ortega, F.J., Gilbert-López, B., García-Reyes, J.F. et al. Fast Automated Determination of Total Tocopherol Content in Virgin Olive Oil Using a Single Multicommuted Luminescent Flow Method. Food Anal. Methods 10, 2125–2131 (2017).

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