Grasas y Aceites, Vol 61, No 3 (2010)

Improvement of phenolic antioxidants and quality characteristics of virgin olive oil with the addition of enzymes and nitrogen during olive paste processing

D. Iconomou
National Agricultural Research Foundation (NAGREF), Institute of Technology of Agricultural Products, Laboratory of Biotechnology, Greece

D. Arapoglou
National Agricultural Research Foundation (NAGREF), Institute of Technology of Agricultural Products, Laboratory of Biotechnology, Greece

C. Israilides
National Agricultural Research Foundation (NAGREF), Institute of Technology of Agricultural Products, Laboratory of Biotechnology, Greece


The evolution of phenolic compounds and their contribution to the quality characteristics in virgin olive oil during fruit processing was studied with the addition of a combination of various commercial enzymes containing pectinases, polygalacturonases, cellulase and β-glucanase with or without nitrogen flush. Olive fruits (Olea europaea, L.) of the cultivar Megaritiki, at the semi black pigmentation stage of maturity, were used in a 3-phase extraction system in an experiment at industrial scale. The addition of enzymes in the olive paste during processing increased the total phenol and ortho-diphenol contents, as well as some simple phenolic compounds (3,4-DHPEA, p-HPEA) and the secoiridoid derivatives (3,4-DHPEA-EDA and 3,4-DHPEAEA) in olive oil and therefore improved its oxidative stability. Furthermore, enzyme treatment ameliorated the quality parameters of the produced olive oil (acidity and peroxide value) and their sensory attributes. The use of additional N2 flush with the enzyme treatments did not improve the quality parameters of olive oil any further; however it did not affect the concentration of individual and total sterols or most of the fatty acid composition. Consequently, olive paste treatment with enzymes not only improved the quality characteristics of olive oil and enhanced the overall ogranoleptic quality, but also increased the olive oil yield.


Enzymes; Olive paste malaxation; Phenolic compounds; Quality parameters; Virgin olive oil

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