Abstract

The potential of Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR), near-infrared (NIR), and Raman spectroscopic techniques combined with partial least squares (PLS) regression (PLSR) to predict concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and total omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 FAs) in fish oil supplements was investigated. FT-IR spectroscopy predicted EPA (coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.994, standard error of cross-validation (SECV) of 2.90%, and standard error of prediction (SEP) of 2.49%) and DHA (R2 = 0.983, SECV = 2.89%, and SEP = 2.55%) with six to seven PLS factors, whereas a simpler PLS model with two factors was obtained for total n-3 FAs (R2 = 0.985, SECV = 2.73%, and SEP = 2.75%). Selected regions in the NIR spectra gave models with good performances and predicted EPA (R2 = 0.979, SECV = 2.43%, and SEP = 3.11%) and DHA (R2 = 0.972, SECV = 2.34%, and SEP = 2.60%) with four to six PLS factors. Both the whole and selected NIR regions gave simple models (two PLS factors) with similar results (R2 = 0.997, SECV = 2.18%, and SEP = 1.60%) for total n-3 FAs. The whole and selected regions of Raman spectra provided models with comparable results and predicted EPA (R2 = 0.977, SECV = 3.18%, and SEP = 2.73%) and DHA (R2 = 0.966, SECV = 3.31%, and SEP = 2.56%) with seven to eight PLS factors, whereas a simpler model (three PLS factors) with R2 = 0.993, SECV = 2.82%, and SEP = 3.27% was obtained for total n-3 FAs. The results demonstrated that FT-IR, NIR, and Raman spectroscopy combined with PLSR can be used as simple, fast, and nondestructive methods for quantitative analysis of EPA, DHA, and total n-3 FAs. FT-IR and NIR spectroscopy, in particular, have the potential to be applied in process industries during production of fish oil supplements.

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