Detection of the adulteration of extra virgin olive oil by near-infrared spectroscopy and chemometric techniques

Nick Vanstone*, Andrew Moore, Perry Martos, Suresh Neethirajan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Due to the value of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), adulteration has become an important issue in the industry, which has created demand for quick and inexpensive fraud detection testing. In contrast to many current food fraud detection methods, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) can be inexpensive and convenient by minimizing sample preparation and measurement times. In this study, we developed a method using NIRS and chemometrics to detect adulteration of EVOO with other edible oil types that does not require sample preparation and can be completed in less than 10 min. First, a single EVOO was adulterated with corn oil from 2.7% to 25% w/w. Spectra for the unadulterated sample and its adulterated counterparts were measured. A principal component analysis (PCA) scores plot showed separation between the adulterated mixtures and the unadulterated sample, which demonstrated that the developed method could detect as low as 2.7% w/w adulteration if an unadulterated sample of the oil in question is provided. To study adulteration detection without an unadulterated sample for reference, the spectra of unadulterated samples and samples adulterated with corn, sunflower, soybean, and canola oils were measured. A PCA with soft independent modelling of class analogy was used for adulteration detection. Lower limits of adulteration detection for corn, sunflower, soybean, and canola oils were found to be approximately 20%, 20%, 15%, and 10%, respectively. These results demonstrate that the developed method can be used to rapidly screen for adulterated olive oils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalFood Quality and Safety
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • chemometrics
  • NIR
  • olive oil adulteration
  • principal component analysis
  • spectroscopy

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