Argan oil is an increasingly popular oil used for culinary and cosmetic purposes. I use it myself to keep my hair nice and healthy while growing it out. The oil is harvested from the Argan tree and authentic Argan oil is only produced in certain Moroccan regions. Therefore, geographic origin analysis is an important tool throughout the supply chain to ensure that the material is unadulterated.
In a recently published paper, scientists investigated different methods for geographic origin analysis of Argan oil. They compared selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS) with the traditionally used chemical profiling in terms of accuracy in determining the origin of oil, as well as ease of use and speed. The study comprised 95 different Argan oils originating from 5 different Moroccan regions.
While both techniques were able to reliably determine the origin of samples, SIFT-MS was found to be quicker, easier and cheaper in obtaining those results.
Chemical profiling measures numerous parameters such as acidity, fatty acid content and peroxide value. Using multivariate analysis, these parameters are combined to achieve excellent classification according to region, but the authors note how time consuming and expensive it is to obtain all parameters needed.
SIFT-MS provides an alternative. By measuring the headspace of Argan oil samples, the authors developed a fast, reliable and non-destructive way to accurately measure the VOC profile. By applying multivariate analysis to this data, the origin of the oil can be readily determined.
This is in excellent example of how powerful the combination of SIFT-MS and multivariate analysis is in determining origin and quality of products.
If you have any questions about the benefit of SIFT-MS for quality and origin assessment of products, please contact us.
The full article “Selected-ion flow-tube mass-spectrometry (SIFT-MS) fingerprinting versus chemical profiling for geographic traceability of Moroccan Argan oils” by Mourad Kharbach, Rabie Kamal, Mohammed Alaoui Mansouri, Ilias Marmouzi, Johan Viaene, Yahia Cherrah, Katim Alaoui, Joeri Vercammen, Abdelaziz Bouklouze and Yvan Vander Heydenwas was published in Food Chemistry, Volume 263, pages 8-17.