Optimizing an Extraction Method of Organosulfides in Onion Oil

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Owen McDougal


Cull onions are onions that are insufficient to be sold into the food market due to production damage, poor rating in the grading process, and/or breakdown in storage following the harvesting season. The most popular disposal method for cull onions is burial; however, there are many regulations regarding disposal via burial that are expensive. An alternative method to disposal is incorporating cull onions into animal feed, which poses a health risk to cattle if they are fed more than their allotted daily allowance; the maximum allowable amount of onion by food dry weight is 25%. There is currently no standard protocol for the extraction of organosulfides from onion oil. Organosulfides are known to be the causative agents of hemolytic anemia in cattle and other animals that are fed too many onions. Research shows differing and contradicting amounts of organosulfide content depending on the extraction process used. We will analyze the organosulfide components in onion oil obtained from steam distillation. Extraction methods with different organic solvents will be compared to optimize the extraction of organosulfides from the onion oil. The organosulfides will be analyzed via gas chromatography mass spectroscopy.

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