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NMR and statistical study of olive oils from Lazio: A geographical, ecological and agronomic characterization

D'Imperio, M., Mannina, L., Capitani, D., Bidet, O., Rossi, E., Bucarelli, F.M., Quaglia, G.B., Segre, A.
Food chemistry 2007 v.105 no.3 pp. 1256-1267
food analysis, food composition, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, olive oil, provenance, product authenticity, agronomic traits, principal component analysis, volatile compounds, sterols, irrigation systems, altitude, Olea europaea, oleic acid, Italy
NMR and statistical procedures were used to analyse olive oils obtained from trees grown in different areas of Lazio, an Italian region, under different irrigation conditions. In order to obtain information on “real” commercial olive oils and to study the effects of some agronomical and ecological factors on the olive oil composition, we studied commercial multi-varietal olive oils, all produced in well-characterized areas of Lazio. 1H and 13C NMR techniques, coupled to a suitable multivariate statistical procedure, were used to analyse 72 multi-varietal extra virgin and PDO (Protected Denomination of Origin) olive oils harvested in 2003, from the northern area, the centre and the southern area of Lazio. The intensity of selected 1H and 13C NMR variables were submitted to three different statistical methods, namely, analysis of variance (ANOVA), principal component analysis (PCA) and linear discriminant analysis (LDA). 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy allowed us to obtain a good chemical characterization of the samples, giving information on major and minor compounds with an experimental error exactly the same and always extremely low for all the analyzed components. As a result of the statistical analysis, olive oils from the same geographical areas were well grouped. Since the amounts of some minor volatile components, such as aldehydes, terpenes and squalene, as well as, the content of β-sitosterol, the most important sterol present in olive oils, are sensitive to the pedoclimatic conditions, the intensity of the corresponding NMR signals turned out to be the most discriminating factors in the geographic classification. Moreover, the NMR and statistical protocol allowed us to investigate the roles of irrigation and altitude on the olive oil composition: the contents of oleic and saturated fatty acids turned out to be strongly influenced by the irrigation practice, whereas the content of volatile compounds was sensitive to the altitude of the olive trees. As a result of our study, olive oils were well grouped according to the irrigation practice as well as to the altitude at which olive trees were grown.