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Characterization of virgin olive oils from Catamarca and La Rioja, Argentina, general characteristics

Ravetti, L.M., Matías, A.C., Patumi, M., Rocchi, P., Fontanazza, G.
Acta horticulturae 2002 no.586 pp. 603-606
acid value, cultivars, extra-virgin olive oil, fatty acid composition, fatty acids, fruits, manual harvesting, mechanization, olives, orchards, peroxide value, polyphenols, production costs, ripening, Argentina
High initial investments in new olive orchards of the north-western part of Argentina require the adoption of high crop technology levels with total or partial mechanization. These would be the bases to try to achieve high yields, in the shortest time, with limited production costs and a high quality final product. This study aims to provide a contribution to the knowledge of the merceological characteristics of the virgin olive oils of a region, where local experience was scarce. Some quality parameters have been evaluated in extra virgin olive oil samples from different zones of the provinces of Catamarca and La Rioja. These oils were obtained using a two-phase system mill with hand-harvested olives in several ripening states belonging to twenty-four cultivars. The analytical determinations performed have been the evaluation of hydrolytic and oxidative degree of degeneration (acid value, peroxide value and UV coefficients); the evaluation of the natural antioxidant content (total polyphenols content) and the main chemical composition (total fatty acid contents). Observed results reflect that there was no sample with chemical parameters out of the international established limits for Extra Virgin Olive oils. Furthermore, average values were clearly lower than the mentioned limits. A considerable variability in polyphenols contents and fatty acid composition regarding the cultivar and the maturity of the fruits was also noticed. In order to sum up, it can be said that it is perfectly feasible to obtain extra virgin olive oils of high quality in the studied areas.