Elemental analysis of olive oils by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) is challenging because of the high organic load in olive oil samples and the low analyte concentrations. However, conflicting operating procedures in the preparation of oils prior to analysis by ICP-MS have been reported to overcome these difficulties. This study compared three methods of inorganic elements’ extraction from olive oils: The two commonly used microwave-assisted, acid digestion, and liquid–liquid, ultrasound-assisted extraction methods; and an optimized method: The combined microwave digestion-evaporation. Overall, microwave digestion-based methods did not compare opportunely, and ultrasound-assisted extraction was found to provide the best accord between simplicity of use, detection limits and precision improvement. The detection limits were in the range of 0.3–160 µg·kg-1
, 0.012–190 µg·kg−1
and 0.00061–1.5 µg·kg−1
, while repeatabilities were in the range of 5–21%, 5.4–99% and 5.1–40% for the microwave digestion, the combined digestion-evaporation and the ultrasound assisted extraction, respectively. The ultrasound-assisted extraction is therefore recommended as a preparation method for olive oils prior to analysis by ICP-MS. The broader range of elements that can be accurately detected is expected to help increase the discriminatory power and performance of geographical traceability models.
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