analysis of gutter oilIt might seem that the analysis of oils might be a little too much on my mind after the recent post (GC Trace Analysis of Pesticides in Food Oils) but all of last year I closely followed the scandal in China on the use and sale of gutter oil as fresh cooking oil and, as per some experts, as much as 10% of China’s cooking oil may be gutter oil.

Gutter oil is basically waste oil collected from sewer drains, slaughterhouse waste, and restaurant fryers that is filtered and decolorized and then sold as fresh cooking oil. And, when I received a poster note discussing HPLC methods for characterizing gutter oils to differentiate them from fresh cooking oils, a blog post was in order!

(By the way, here’s everything you ever wanted to know about gutter oil on Wikipedia.)

Poster Note, Characterization of Used Cooking Oils by High Performance Liquid Chromatography and Corona Charged Aerosol Detection, (downloadable PDF), presents four HPLC methods that characterize the lipid components and aldehyde content in five gutter oil samples and two fresh soybean oil samples. Lipid analysis was done using charged aerosol detection and aldehyde analysis using fluorescence detection and mass spectrometry.

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The researchers used one of our reversed phase HPLC systems (Thermo Scientific Dionex UltiMate 3000 RSLC system) and our rapid-separation Charged Aerosol Detector (Thermo Scientific Dionex Corona ultra RS Charged Aerosol Detector) for the method development for lipid analysis; and, our fluorescence detector (Thermo Scientific Dionex UltiMate 3000 FLD-3400RS Fluorescence Detector) and one of our mass spectrometry systems (Thermo Scientific MSQ Plus Single Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer) for the analysis of aldehydes.

Significant differences were found between the two types of oil samples and in their conclusion, the researchers say: “The universal lipids method provided the fastest and most differentiating results to distinguish different oil qualities, and the HPLC-FLD-MS method provided information on aldehyde content of the samples.”

Additional Resources

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