Journal of separation science

High-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection for the rapid analysis of pheophytins and pyropheophytins in virgin olive oil.

PMID 26047465


Pheophytins and pyropheophytin are degradation products of chlorophyll pigments, and their ratios can be used as a sensitive indicator of stress during the manufacturing and storage of olive oil. They increase over time depending on the storage condition and if the oil is exposed to heat treatments during the refining process. The traditional analysis method includes solvent- and time-consuming steps of solid-phase extraction followed by analysis by high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection. We developed an improved dilute/fluorescence method where multi-step sample preparation was replaced by a simple isopropanol dilution before the high-performance liquid chromatography injection. A quaternary solvent gradient method was used to include a fourth strong solvent wash on a quaternary gradient pump, which avoided the need to premix any solvents and greatly reduced the oil residues on the column from previous analysis. This new method not only reduces analysis cost and time but shows reliability, repeatability, and improved sensitivity, especially important for low-level samples.