American Chemical Society
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Raman Spectroscopy of Fish Oil Capsules: Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Quantitation Plus Detection of Ethyl Esters and Oxidation

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-04-19, 00:00 authored by Daniel P. Killeen, Susan N. Marshall, Elaine J. Burgess, Keith C. Gordon, Nigel B. Perry
Fish oils are the primary dietary source of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), but these compounds are prone to oxidation, and commercial fish oil supplements sometimes contain less PUFA than claimed. These supplements are predominantly sold in softgel capsules. In this work, we show that Fourier transform (FT)–Raman spectra of fish oils (n = 5) and ω-3 PUFA concentrates (n = 6) can be acquired directly through intact softgel (gelatin) capsules. These spectra could be used to rapidly distinguish supplements containing ethyl esters from those containing triacylglyceride oils. Raman spectroscopy calibrated with partial least-squares regression against traditional fatty acid methyl ester analyses by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry could be used to rapidly and nondestructively quantitate PUFA and other fatty acid classes directly though capsules. We also show that FT–Raman spectroscopy can noninvasively detect oxidation with high sensitivity. Oils with peroxide values of as low as 10 mequiv kg–1, which are on the cusp of falling outside of specification, could be readily distinguished from oils that were within specification (7 mequiv kg–1).