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Genetic and chemical assessment of Arbequina olive cultivar grown in Córdoba province, Argentina

Torres, Mariela M., Pierantozzi, Pierluigi, Cáceres, María Eugenia, Labombarda, Paola, Fontanazza, Giuseppe, Maestri, Damián M.
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2009 v.89 no.3 pp. 523-530
Olea europaea, olives, cultivars, genetic markers, amplified fragment length polymorphism, olive oil, food composition, oleic acid, phenolic compounds, volatile compounds, Argentina
BACKGROUND: Thirty-eight accessions of olive (Olea europaea L.) originating from Córdoba province (Argentina) and preliminarily identified as belonging to the Arbequina variety were genotyped using AFLP (amplified fragment length polymorphism) DNA markers. Also, the oil chemical composition was studied during three consecutive crop years. The objectives of the work were (a) to investigate genetic intra-cultivar diversity and (b) to evaluate the oil chemical composition and compare it with that of Arbequina oil produced in Spain.RESULTS: The 19 primer combinations employed to perform the AFLP analysis produced 98 polymorphic bands. A reduced genetic heterogeneity was obtained, confirming that (a) the selected accessions belong to the Arbequina variety and (b) the traditional vegetative propagation practice has caused low genetic erosion in this variety cultivated in Córdoba. The main features that characterise the Argentinian Arbequina oils studied are the lower content of oleic acid and higher levels of phenolics and high-molecular-weight volatile compounds compared with those found in Spanish Arbequina oils.CONCLUSION: In spite of the small proportion of intra-cultivar variability, the Arbequina variety grown in Argentina produces oils with different chemical traits from those obtained in the original Spanish growing region. These differences can be attributed mainly to the particular environmental conditions of the olive-growing areas in these countries.