Olive & Oil 29/11/2014

SPME-GCM to detect sensory defects in olive oil

The quality parameters were studied for each one of 29 compounds. The performance of the method assessing sensory quality was checked with samples

olatile compounds are responsible for the aroma of virgin olive oil and also for its quality.

The high number and different nature of volatile compounds drive to the need of a reliable analytical method that allows their proper quantification to explain the standard method of panel test. Although there are some analytical solutions available, they have not been validated and the regulatory bodies are reluctant to adopt them since they can be subjected to unknown errors.


In this regards, the European Union has encouraged the validation of these analytical tools through the research program Horizon2020, which involves gaining knowledge from the analytical properties of the chemical methods for sensory assessment. This work is focused on the analytical validation of the methodology used to determine the actual concentration of volatiles in virgin olive oils when applying SPME-GCMS.

The validation process includes the calibration curves for 29 volatile compounds responsible for the most common sensory perceptions in virgin olive oils, the determination of their working ranges with linear response, the detection and quantification limits, the sensitivity, the accuracy estimated as trueness and precision and the selectivity. Sixty-seven percent of the compounds presented a relative standard deviation in repeatability lower than 10%, and this percentage rises to 95% in lampante virgin olive oils.

The accuracy was established in 97% of the studied volatile compounds. Finally, an empirical example of the ability of the method to discriminate virgin olive oils of different categories (extra virgin, virgin, ordinary and lampante) by the quantification of their volatiles is provided.


I. Romero, D.L. García-González, R. Aparicio-Ruiz, M.T. Morales, Validation of SPME-GCMS method for the analysis of virgin olive oil volatiles responsible for sensory defects, Talanta, Available online 24 November 2014

di R. T.