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Chlorophyll and carotenoid patterns in olive fruits, Olea europaea cv. Arbequina

Gandul-Rojas, B., Roca-L Cepero, M., Minguez-Mosquera, M.I.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 1999 v.47 no.6 pp. 2207-2212
Olea europaea, ripening, chlorophyll, carotenoids, alpha-carotene, lutein, xanthophylls, chlorophyllides, carotenes, color, cultivars, pigments, chemical constituents of plants, neoxanthin, antheraxanthin, violaxanthin
In olive fruits of the cultivar Arbequina, the chlorophyll pigments decrease significantly throughout ripening, while the carotenoids decrease more gradually and discontinuously. There is no degradation of the carotenoid fraction in stages before complete ripeness. The presence of esterified xanthophylls exclusively in this variety suggests that the chloroplast pigment metabolism is different from that in other olive varieties studied previously. There are increases of specific carotenoids, violaxanthin, neoxanthin, antheraxanthin, lutein epoxide, and esterified xanthophylls between the light green and yellowish green ripening stages. Such increases are related to the detection of precursor carotenoids (phytofluene and xi-carotene) in the yellowish green stage. Chlorophyllides (a and b) and alpha-carotene have also been detected exclusively in this variety. Quantitatively, the drastic change in color between light green and yellowish green ripening stages characteristic of this variety can be explained by the considerable reduction found in the chlorophylls/carotenoids ratio. The study of the pigments present in skin and pulp has shown that the pattern of carotenoid distribution differs depending on the fruit part concerned.