Grasas y Aceites, Vol 63, No 4 (2012)

Real time continuous oxygen concentration monitoring system during malaxation for the production of Virgin Olive Oil


https://doi.org/10.3989/gya.058012

G. Aiello
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Chimica, Informatica, Gestionale, Meccanica, Università di Palermo, Italy

P. Catania
Dipartimento dei Sistemi Agro-Ambientali, Università di Palermo, Italy

M. Enea
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Chimica, Informatica, Gestionale, Meccanica, Università di Palermo, Italy

G. La Scalia
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Chimica, Informatica, Gestionale, Meccanica, Università di Palermo, Italy

F. Pipitone
Dipartimento dei Sistemi Agro-Ambientali, Università di Palermo, Italy

M. Vallone
Dipartimento dei Sistemi Agro-Ambientali, Università di Palermo, Italy

Abstract


During the mechanical extraction process of Virgin Olive Oil (VOO) some important physical phenomena and enzymatic transformations occur which influence the quality of the final product. The control of process parameters is crucial to ensure the quality of VOO, therefore process monitoring and control is a fundamental requirement in the modern VOO processing industry. The present work proposes an innovative Real-Time Monitoring System (RTMS) aimed at continuously measuring the oxygen concentration during the malaxation process in order to establish a correlation with the quality of the final product obtained. This monitoring system is based on an oxygen concentration sensor directly connected to the malaxation chamber and a data acquisition system to analyze and store the measured values in a process database. The experimental results obtained show that the use of oxygen during malaxation improves some qualitative parameters of VOO such as free fatty acids and total polyphenols while others (peroxide values and spectrophotometric indexes) worsen. These results are similar to those obtained by employing nitrogen, which is the traditional technique to avoid the wellknown oxidation processes studied by several researchers, thus demonstrating that the presence of oxygen during the malaxation process can have beneficial effects on the quality of VOO when its concentration is properly controlled.

Keywords


Malaxation; Olive oil quality; Process control; Real-Time Monitoring System

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References


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