glassesGlasses and olive oil… don’t see the connection? Keep reading.

I don’t exactly remember when my vision started to get blurry. I assume it was a gradual progression and my brain compensated for the loss in vision and it told itself that this vision was my ‘normal.’ While I don’t remember exactly when my vision started to worsen, I do remember my middle school teacher sending home a note to my parents suggesting they take me for an eye exam as I was squinting to see the chalkboard at school (again, something I wasn’t even aware I was doing).

Have you ever had an eye exam? If so, remember your optometrist asking you over and over again, “Do you see better with A or B … one or two?” as you stare at a series of letters? With some tinkering, moving around some lenses in front of my eyes, my optometrist was able to hone in on my prescription and suddenly the blurry blobs become focused, crisp, legible letters.

With a new pair of glasses achieving 20/20 vision, I was finally able to see what I didn’t realize I had been missing!

What I learned then is that sometimes you’re so entrenched in what you know and are used to, that you don’t even realize that something is difficult. The good news is there may be a solution once you realize there is something that can be improved.

How does my story relate to olive oil?

Olive oil is a delicious and versatile staple in any home cook’s pantry, used by many in cooking, not only for its flavor but also for its health benefits, as it contains lots of healthy fats and antioxidants and it can be found in a variety of beauty products. Because of the popularity and high demand for good quality olive oils, it’s not uncommon to hear of olive oil being adulterated with cheaper vegetable oils and lower grade olive oils. In order to prevent fraud and ensure the health and safety of consumers, quality tests are needed to authenticate the product quality and purity (check out this blog post with additional context and resources on olive oil adulteration).

For producers who need to “see” what’s in that olive oil to ensure its purity, it has not traditionally been a simple-enough process to quantify fatty acid and sterol profiles in-house, so samples are typically sent out to dedicated labs for testing. An alternative target that can be used to characterize olive oil is its triacylglycerol (TAG) profile since TAGs are the most abundant class of compounds in edible oils. TAG analysis is attractive since it requires less sample prep and extraction prior to analysis, but TAG profiling for olive oil was not common since the compounds are difficult to resolve and detect with traditional HPLC and easily-accessible detectors such as UV/Vis.

Luckily there is an alternative detector that has been used to “see” the TAG profile – a Charged Aerosol Detector (CAD).

So what is Charged Aerosol Detector (CAD)?

Just think of CAD as a new pair of glasses that suddenly gives you better vision and insight into what’s in that vial of olive oil. Since its introduction in 2005, CAD has become an accepted, powerful, universal LC detector for both routine and complex analyses.

CAD technology is available in two options: the Thermo Scientific™ Corona™ Veo™ which can be connected to any HPLC or UHPLC system from any vendor and the Thermo Scientific™ Vanquish™ CAD which is optimized for the Thermo Scientific™ Vanquish™ UHPLC platform.

See how CAD works in this short video:

What are some of the key benefits of using CAD?

In addition to all of the analytical benefits you get with the CAD detector, it is also accessible, able to be easily integrated into your workflow, and easy-to-use; plus you have the support of experts to help you get your applications up and running. What’s not to love here? (Make sure to read this Customer Case Study about the experience that the University of California Davis Olive Center had with using our Thermo Scientific Vanquish Flex UHPLC with CAD system that they nicknamed “Wonder Woman”)

So, back to olive oil purity…

TAG profiling for olive oil can be done more easily with a CAD detector to help quickly confirm the purity of the final product with less sample preparation in a more environmentally friendly manner compared to traditional analyses. Read the application note that was developed and tested on a Thermo Scientific™ Accucore™ C18 column, packed with rugged solid core particles for fast separations, using a Vanquish Flex UHPLC with CAD system.

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Interestingly olive oil’s ability to infuse with other flavors has recently been explored for cannabidiol, also known as CBD. This is where CAD’s versatility can not only be used to check the quality and purity of the olive oil but has also been used to quantify a panel of synthetic cannabinoids without direct reference standards (Poplawska, M et al., Forensic Toxicology (2018) 36: 122-140).

So as you can “see” you can get better vision and insight into your sample with CAD.  You know the song, sing it with me:

I can see clearly now that CAD is here…

I can see all the fatty acids that were in my way

Gone are the interferences that had me blind

It’s gonna be a great (great)

Great (great) productive lab day

It’s gonna be a great (great)

Great (great) productive lab day….

I know that was pretty nerdy… but you’ll be singing songs and dancing in lab after seeing your first results.

Luckily, there’s no need to schedule time with an eye doctor to see your samples better – just give CAD a spin and get the 20/20 vision you deserve.

Learn more at

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