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Conference Proceeding

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Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is produced from fresh mature coconut meat without the use of chemicals or high heat. VCO can be made using three processes: fermentation, centrifuge, and expeller. To determine quality, it is important to be able to differentiate control VCO (fresh) from old VCO, refined bleached and deodorized coconut oil (RBDCO), and VCO which has been adulterated with RBDCO. Differentiating these types of samples has remained a challenge because of their chemical similarity. This study investigated the ability of 13C NMR and multivariate analysis to differentiate these different coconut oil samples. The methodology used the standard 13C NMR pulse sequence with broadband 1H decoupling with dioxane as the internal standard (IS). After pre-processing of the spectra (alignment, bucketing/binning, normalization with respect to dioxane IS peak), untargeted multivariate analyses, both unsupervised and supervised, were done on the bins of the 13C peaks. Principal components analysis (PCA), a linear unsupervised method, was able to differentiate control VCO (n = 57) from RBDCO (n = 21), adulterated VCO (n = 9), and old VCO (n = 11). Partial least squares–discriminant analysis (PLS–DA) was used as the supervised linear binary classifier. Using overall accuracy and AUC-ROC curves (by 100 cross validation and single validation using manual holdout), the supervised dataset with an optimized model gave performances that were 99%, 95%, and 80% improved in differentiating control VCO vs. RBDCO, old VCO, and adulterated VCO (one vs. one), respectively. Predictive ability (Q2 < 0.20) and overall accuracy (<0.80) were poor compared to the previous models for binary classifier models (one vs. rest) to differentiate among the three VCO processes. This may be due to the variations in production conditions and methods that different VCO producers use. We conclude that 13C NMR combined with linear techniques can be used to accurately differentiate fresh VCO from RBDCO, old VCO, and adulterated VCO.