Grasas y Aceites, Vol 64, No 5 (2013)

Responses of fruit physiology and virgin oil quality to cold storage of mechanically harvested ‘Arbequina’ olives cultivated in hedgerow

K. Yousfi
Department of Agroforestry Sciences, College of Engineering, University of Huelva, Spain

C. M. Weiland
Department of Agroforestry Sciences, College of Engineering, University of Huelva, Spain

J. M. García
Department of Physiology and Technology of Plant Products. Instituto de la Grasa (CSIC), Spain


The increase in olive fruit production (Olea europaea L. cv. ‘Arbequina’), due to the increasing use of super-intensive cultivation and the need for a rapid fruit processing will force the industry to make a considerable investment in machinery for processing in order to maintain the level of quality of virgin olive oil (VOO). This work aims to study how the storage temperature affects the physiology of the olive and the quality of the oil, in order to use fruit storage as a cheaper and more versatile alternative to the increase in processing capacity. ‘Arbequina’ fruit did not present symptoms of chilling injury during 15 days of cold-storage. Postharvest decay, de-greening, softening, respiration and ethylene production of the olive fruit increased in direct relationship as the storage temperature increased. These facts determined a proportional deterioration of the free acidity and the sensory quality of the VOOs. Furthermore, the contents of tocopherols and of the main phenolic compounds in the VOO exhibited a reduction during fruit storage according to the increase in the temperature used. Storage at 2 °C preserved the integrity of the olive to maintain the best “Extra” level of VOO quality for a period of 12 days.


Ethylene; Fruit color; Fruit softening; Olea europaea; Olive postharvest; Phenolic compounds; Respiration; Tocopherols

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