Multidimensional gas chromatographic‒Mass spectrometric method for separation and identification of triacylglycerols in olive oil

Habtewold Deti Waktola, Yada Nolvachai, Philip J. Marriot

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A ‘heart-cut’ multidimensional gas chromatography‒mass spectrometry (H/C MDGC‒MS) method for separation and identification of triacylglycerols (TAGs) in extra virgin olive oil was developed. A GC configuration, comprising a non-polar first dimension (1D) column (15 m length) and a mid-polarity second dimension (2D) column (9 m length), was employed. Standard TAGs were used to test and demonstrate the H/C MDGC method, for identification of TAG components and to validate the method. Various chromatographic conditions such as column flow and temperature program were evaluated. The 1D separation resulted in overlap of some standard TAG peaks. These overlapped 1D regions of the standard TAGs were H/C to 2D for further separation and resulted in clearly distinguished individual TAG component peaks. The 1D separation of olive oil TAGs displayed three major peaks and four minor peaks. The application of the H/C MDGC method to olive oil TAGs resulted in the separation of each sampled 1D region into two or more TAG peaks. TAG components in olive oil resolved on the 2D column were identified based on characteristic mass fragment ions such as [M–RCO2]+, [RCO+128]+, [RCO+74]+ and RCO+ and comparison of their mass spectra with that of the standard TAGs. Sixteen olive oil TAGs were identified by MS after 2D separation. The repeatability of the H/C method was evaluated in terms of retention time shift and area response in the 2D and found to be <0.02% and <8% RSD respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number461474
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2020


  • Mass spectrometry
  • Olive oil
  • Triacylglycerols
  • ‘Heart-cut’ multidimensional gas chromatography

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