Some notes about Fats and Oils, cis/trans-Fatty acids and our latest re-launched RT 2560

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Courtesy of Restek Corporation

I recently posted a Blog regarding some notes about Fats and Oils, FAMES and our Famewax column, which can be found here. In Food Industry the challenge may be a bit heavier, if the amount of Trans Fatty Acids is requested.

There is scientific consensus that trans fats intake has a negative effect on human health: more specifically, consumption of trans fats has a negative impact on blood cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease more than any other macronutrient compared on a per-calorie basis; the risk of dying from heart disease is 20 – 32% higher when consuming 2% of the daily energy intake from trans fats instead of consuming the same energy amount from carbohydrates, saturated fatty acids, cis monounsaturated fatty acids and cis polyunsaturated fatty acids (*Mozaffarian D et al., 2009, Health effects of trans-fatty acids: experimental and observational evidence, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 63(S2): p. S5-S21)
Although it has to be noted that the intake of Industrial Trans Fatty Acids (ITFAs) has decreased in the past years in the EU, they are still excessively present in some diets and particular population groups in the EU, such as low-income citizens in the UK, university students aged 18 to 30 years in Croatia or generally citizens of this age range in Spain are identified as risk groups with an intake higher than 1% of daily energy intake (which is the recommended value by WHO).

Therefore some European Countries have taken action and have introduced a legal limit of IFTAS in Food, starting with Denmark in 2003, followed by some other countries like Austria, Hungary and Latvia.  Voluntary self-regulation industrial measures have been implemented in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, the UK and Greece. Legal measures limiting in this area exist also in Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and the US.

This said, there is obviously a lack of homogeneity in the whole EU in relation to limitation of IFTAs in food, what is causing problems in an effective functioning of the internal EU market (e.g. protection of consumers’ health). Therefore SANTE (EU Directorate General of Health and Food Safety) has started a new “Initiative to limit industrial trans fats intakes in the EU”, which may lead to an increasing challenge in Food characterization. The final SANTE statement is supposed to be given during 3rd quarter of 2017.

Measuring the Fatty Acid composition of Food, including IFTAs, is challenging and normally follows the EN ISO 12966-2015, Part 1 to 4 (Animal and vegetable fats and oils –Gas chromatography of fatty acid methyl esters), which is also ground base of some national method developments as given in DGF C-VI 10a/11a in Germany

For us, as one of the leading  GC separation column producer, in particular the ISO 12966­4:2015 “Animal and vegetable fats and oils – Gas chromatography of fatty acid methyl esters – Part 4: Determination by capillary gas chromatography” is the most important part, giving some recommendations of suitable columns to be used.

Chapter 5 (Apparatus) indicates as a suitable Capillary column “fused silica capillary 100 m and 0,25 mm i.d. coated with 100 % cyanopropylsilicone stationary phase to a thickness of 0,20 µm.”

Due to its high polarity this column is not easy to be manufactured, as many users may have recognized in the past. This column cannot be manufactured as a bonded version. Until now, this results in some draw back, like change of polarity during lifetime (having changes in retention times) and in some production inconsistencies, recognized as differing batch to batch reliability. This is due to phase chemistry and could be seen all around commercial available products.

Restek scientists therefore have started an initiative to overcome most of the mentioned issues. Having all production processes under control, starting with the manufacturing of raw fused silica and the in-house production of high end polymers to achieve the best possible stationary phase, we have improved a lot of the manufacturing processes, which gave us the opportunity to implement tighter controls on specifications to guarantee low bleed and a more stable baseline. This initiative leads to more consistency in the product and much more reliability for your measurements.

This sounds like a huge step forward in characterizing the fat composition of Food, especially regarding the analysis of the mentioned ITFAs. Some of the impressive results can be seen here.

But as always, the best proof is to check these results by yourself. Ask your regional Restek Sales Representative about this column and make your own decision.

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