Avocado oil is prized for its high nutritional value due to the substantial amounts of triglycerides (TGs) and unsaturated fatty acids (FAs) present. While avocado oil is traditionally extracted from mature fruit flesh, alternative sources such as avocado seed oil have recently increased in popularity. Unfortunately, sufficient evidence is not available to support the claimed health benefit and safe use of such oils. To address potential quality issues and identify possible adulteration, authenticated avocado oils extracted from the fruit peel, pulp and seed by supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), as well as commercial avocado pulp and seed oils sold in US market were analyzed for TGs and FAs in the present study. Characterization and quantification of TGs were conducted using UHPLC/ESI-MS. Thirteen TGs containing saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in avocado oils were unambiguously identified. Compared to traditional analytical methods, which are based only on the relative areas of chromatographic peaks neglecting the differences in the relative response of individual TG, our method improved the quantification of TGs by using the reference standards whenever possible or the reference standards with the same equivalent carbon number (ECN). To verify the precision and accuracy of the UHPLC/ESI-MS method, the hydrolysis and transesterification products of avocado oil were analyzed for fatty acid methyl esters using a GC/MS method. The concentrations of individual FA were calculated, and the results agreed with the UHPLC/ESI-MS method. Although chemical profiles of avocado oils from pulp and peel are very similar, a significant difference was observed for the seed oil. Principal component analysis (PCA) based on TG and FA compositional data allowed correct identification of individual avocado oil and detection of possible adulteration.
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