The emergence of primary and secondary oxidation products in New Zealand extra virgin olive oil during accelerated thermal oxidation was measured and correlated with the concentrations of 13 headspace volatile compounds measured by selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS). SIFT-MS is a mass spectrometric technique that permits qualitative and absolute quantitative measurements to be made from whole air, headspace, or breath samples in real-time down to several parts per billion (ppb). It is well-suited to high-throughput analysis of headspace samples. Propanal, hexanal, and acetone were found at high concentrations in a rancid standard oil, while propanal, acetone, and acetic acid showed marked increases with oxidation time for the oils used in this study. A partial least-squares (PLS) regression model was constructed, which allowed the prediction of peroxide values (PV) for three separate oxidized oils. Sensory rancidity was also measured, although the correlations of headspace volatile compounds with sensory rancidity score were less satisfactory, and too few results were available for the construction of a PLS regression model. A fast (approximately 1 min), reliable method for prediction of olive oil PVs by SIFT-MS was developed. © 2007 American Chemical Society.
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