Date of Award
Master of Science
Methods for identifying argan oil adulteration have become important due to the exponential increase in the use of argan oil in food and cosmetics products over the years. Argan is the most expensive vegetable oil, has a tedious extraction process and is endemic to Morocco. This paper focuses on identifying markers that can be used to identify adulteration of argan oil with cheaper vegetable oils. Authentic argan oil from Morocco, commercially available argan oil, adulterant oil (sunflower and olive oil) and admixtures of argan oil with each adulterant oil at 98:2, 95:5, 90:10, 80:20, 70:30, 60:40, 50:50, and 40:60 v/v were analyzed. GCMS, LCMS and HS-SPME/GCMS methods were used. The GCMS method focused on the phenolic components of the argan oil, and it was also used to compare the authentic argan oil and the commercially available argan oil. This showed that both oil samples were comparable and similar. The LCMS method focused on the TAG profile of the authentic argan oil and the oil showed the characteristic hand-shaped like profile of TAGs of argan oil as reported in literature. The HS-SPME/GCMS method focused on the volatile organic compounds in the argan oil sample and the adulterant oils. Admixtures of the argan oil and the adulterant oils were evaluated for the presence and absence of volatile organic compound markers. In this method, the presence of the marker compound(s) could be detected with as little as 5% (w/w) adulteration level using olive oil as adulterant oil and 10% (w/w) using sunflower oil as the adulterant oil.
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