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Effect of Harvesting System and Fruit Cold Storage on Virgin Olive Oil Chemical Composition and Quality of Superintensive Cultivated ‘Arbequina’ Olives

Yousfi, Khaled, Weiland, Carlos M., Garcı́a, José M.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2012 v.60 no.18 pp. 4743-4750
Olea europaea, cold storage, fatty acid composition, manual harvesting, mechanical harvesting, olives, oxidative stability, virgin olive oil, wine grapes
Storage at 3 and 18 °C of ‘Arbequina’ olives (Olea europaea L.) cultivated in hedgerows and harvested manually or mechanically (wine grape harvester) was tested. Fruit characteristics and oil quality were monitored. Mechanical harvesting caused internal fruit damage that induced its rapid softening and decay, but also facilitated obtaining higher amounts of oil, which suffered a rapid deterioration during fruit storage. This oil presented lower tocopherol and phenol contents and lower oxidative stability than the oil extracted from manually harvested olives, but showed similar fatty acid composition. Cold storage (3 °C) delayed all of these deterioration processes. It allowed maintaining the best commercial level of quality (“extra”) in the oil from mechanically harvested olives for 10 days. This cold storage could be considered as an alternative to the increase in machinery for processing the growing olive production, due to both hedgerow cultivation and mechanized harvesting.