Hanukkah it ain’t: Oil paper burns out as authors bicker

jos_63_2Forgive us for revisiting our family traditions, but the story of Hanukkah tells how the Maccabees managed to coax eight days worth of light from a day’s worth of olive oil. Some  Tunisian chemists are probably wishing their paper on olive oil had the same staying power.

But their 2013 article, in the Journal of Oleo Science — a publication of the Japanese Oil Chemists’ Society — has been retracted because the group evidently wasn’t much of a group after all.

The paper, “Effect of Storage on Refined Olive Oil Composition: Stabilization by Addition of Chlorophyll Pigments and Squalene,” purported to come from Ghayth Rigane, Mohamed Bouaziz, Sami Sayadi and Ridha Ben Salem, who work in Tunisia and have published together before on more than one occasion. As the abstract states:

Refined olive oil has been analyzed in order to evaluate the influence of storage time on their quality after enrichment with chlorophyll pigments and squalene. At the end of the storage, chlorophyll pigments decomposed for more than 90%, while, carotene pigment loss was lower showing up to 75% in all oil samples stored at 20°C and 50°C. The reduction of total phenolic compounds exhibited similar degradation profiles, reducing by 81% for enriched refined olive oil stored at 20°C and 50°C after six months. For all studied samples, squalene content decreased significantly (p< 0.05) only after four months of storage. Oils with added pure squalene had the lower peroxide values (52 meq O2 · kg(-1)) at the end of storage at 20°C. After six months of storage the oxidative stability increased to 1 h 28 min and 2 h 06 min for refined olive oil stored at 20°C enriched with chlorophyll + squalene and only by squalene, respectively. Therefore, squalene supplemented with 800 mg · kg(-1) exhibited favorable antioxidant effects and is preferable for effectively avoiding oxidation. This study could provide useful information for industry to produce high-stability vegetable oil.

Might have, but no longer. According to the retraction notice (this links to a PDF):

Executive Board of Editors withdraws paper despite author’s objection, lacking approval of submission among authors.

The paper has yet to be cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

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