Genuineness assessment of mandarin essential oils employing gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio MS (GC-C-IRMS)



Cold-pressed mandarin essential oils are products of great economic importance in many parts of the world and are used in perfumery, as well as in food products. Reconstituted mandarin oils are easy to find on the market; useful information on essential oil authenticity, quality, extraction technique, geographic origin and biogenesis can be attained through high-resolution GC of the volatile fraction, or enantioselective GC, using different chiral stationary phases. Stable isotope ratio analysis has gained considerable interest for the unveiling of citrus oil adulteration, detecting small differences in the isotopic carbon composition and providing plenty of information concerning the discrimination among products of different geographical origin and the adulteration of natural essential oils with synthetic or natural compounds. In the present research, the authenticity of several mandarin essential oils was assessed through the employment of GC hyphenated to isotope ratio MS, conventional GC flame ionization detector, enantioselective GC and HPLC. Commercial mandarin oils and industrial natural (declared as such) mandarin essential oils, characterized by different harvest periods and geographic origins, were subjected to analysis. The results attained were compared with those of genuine cold-pressed Italian mandarin oils, obtained during the 2008–2009 harvest season.