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Differentiation of Animal Fats from Different Origins: Use of Polymorphic Features Detected by Raman Spectroscopy

Volume 64, Number 11 (Nov. 2010) Page 1244-1250


Food safety requires the development of reliable techniques that ensure the origin of animal fats. In the present work, we try to verify the efficacy of using the polymorphic features of fats for discriminating animal-fat origins. We use Raman spectroscopy to collect the structural information of fat crystals. It is shown that a single Raman band at 1417 cm-1 successfully differentiates pork fats from beef fats. This band is known to be characteristic of the β'-polymorph of fats. Pork fats show this band because they contain the β'-polymorph after rapid cooling to 0 °C. In beef–pork-fat mixtures, this band is not detected even in the presence of 50% pork fat; an addition of beef fat to pork fat is likely to produce a mixed fat with a completely different polymorphic behavior. This method seems to have the potential to detect beef products contaminated with pork-adipose tissue.

Index Headings: Beef tallow; Lard; Triacylglycerol; Crystal; Polymorphism; β'-polymorph; Raman spectroscopy; Vibrational spectroscopy.