Residual solvent or intrinsically formed during production: analysing volatile compounds in unrefined vegetable oils using headspace gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry

Thomas Flecker, Maximilian Schicher, Erich Leitner, Franz Siegfried Wagner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vegetable oils are an essential part of a healthy and balanced diet and have major economic significance. The type of production, whether performed by extraction with solvents, or by mechanical techniques, significantly influences the quality of the oil and its potential field of use. Occasionally, volatile organic substances, which are considered indicative for an oil that has been produced by solvent extraction, are detected in unrefined vegetable oils. This can have a negative impact on high-quality oil mills and their reputation. The goal of the study was to analyse unrefined oils of different raw materials for such compounds. A previously developed and validated method using headspace gas chromatography coupled with a mass spectrometry was used for this task. Another aim was to determine the origin of any solvent residues in the vegetable oils and to find ways to avoid them. Complementary measurements by solid phase micro extraction gas chromatography were conducted to compare the results of the measurements to an orthogonal methodology. Multivariate data analysis was used to find correlations between the spectrum of substances in the oil and other parameters like the producer of the oil or the pattern of fatty acids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)996-1008
Number of pages13
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019


  • headspace-gas chromatography
  • mass spectrometry
  • solvent residue
  • triglyceride degradation
  • Unrefined vegetable oil
  • volatiles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Toxicology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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