Background: Nuts have been incorporated into guidelines for healthy eating since they
contain considerable amounts of antioxidants and their effects are related to health benefits since they
contribute to the prevention of nutritional deficiencies. The micronutrient characterization is based
mainly on the determination of phenolics, which is the most abundant class of bioactive compounds
in nuts. Terpenes constitute another class of bioactive compounds that are present in nuts and show
high volatility. The analysis of phenolic compounds and terpenes is a very demanding task that requires
optimization of the chromatographic conditions to improve the separation of the components.
Moreover, nuts are rich in unsaturated fatty acids and they are therefore considered as cardioprotective.
Gas chromatography is the predominant instrumental analytical technique for the determination
of derivatized fatty acids and terpenes in food matrices, while high performance liquid chromatography
is currently the most popular technique for the determination of phenolic compounds.
Objective: This review summarizes all the recent advances in the optimization of the chromatographic
conditions for the determination of phenolic compounds, fatty acids and terpenes in nuts.
Conclusion: The state-of-the art in the technology available is critically discussed, exploring new
analytical approaches to reduce the time of analysis and improve the performance of the chromatographic
systems in terms of precision, reproducibility, limits of detection and quantification and
overall quality of the results.