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Fast and accurate method for total 4-desmethyl sterol(s) content in spreads, fat-blends and raw materials

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Author: Duchateau, G.S.M.J.E. · Bauer-Plank, C.G. · Louter, A.J.H. · Ham, M. van der · Boerma, J.A. · Rooijen, J.J.M. van · Zandbelt, P.A.
Institution: Centraal Instituut voor Voedingsonderzoek TNO
Source:JAOCS, 3, 79, 273-278
Identifier: 57451
Keywords: Nutrition · Alcohols · Esters · Extraction · Fatty acids · Gas chromatography · Quality control · Raw materials · Saponification · Standards · Desmethyl sterol · Fat blends · Internal standard · Plant sterols · Vegetable oil table spreads · Vegetable oils


Plant sterols are added as their FA esters to vegetable oil table spreads at levels of approximately 8% as a means to reduce blood cholesterol levels. A new chromatographic method was designed to quantify quickly the level of plant sterol FA esters in incoming (raw) materials and to monitor their processing and final product quality with respect to total sterol level. The method shows a significant improvement in elapsed time and thus labor cost over the classical methods for sterols published in normative references. This improvement was obtained together with high performance characteristics, as shown by the internal method validation for recovery and repeatability. Its validity and robustness were further tested and confirmed in an international collaborative test. The method allows monitoring of sterol content of raw materials, fat-blends, and consumer products at the target level, with a range of 10% or less around this target. The calculated within- and between-laboratory reproducibility were 0.680 and 1.194 w/w%, respectively, for sterol-containing spreads. The results afforded by this method can be used for setting tight product specifications or to monitor trade between companies. We propose to add this new and fast method for total 4-desmethyl sterol(s) to analytical method collections as an adjunct to methods already listed for more detailed sterol analysis.