Grasas y Aceites, Vol 66, No 4 (2015)

Advanced olive selections with enhanced quality for minor constituents

L. Velasco, R. De la Rosa, L. León



Squalene, phytosterols and tocopherols are minor constituents of paramount importance for the olive fruit and oil quality. The objective of this research was to conduct a two-year evaluation of these compounds in the fruits of seven advanced breeding selections. They were mainly selected for early bearing and high oil content from progenies of crosses between the cultivars ‘Arbequina’ and ‘Picual’. An analysis of variance showed high genotypic effects, non-significant year effects, and genotype x year interactions of low magnitude. The selections showed great variability for the traits, surpassing in some cases the parental values. One selection with total tocopherol content of 263 mg·kg−1 fruit flesh, compared to a maximum of 148 mg·kg −1 in the parents, and another one with Δ5-avenasterol concentration of 30.7% of total sterols, compared to a maximum of 22.1% in the parents, were the most relevant phenotypes. These selections may play an important role for improving olive fruit and oil quality for specific market niches.


Breeding; Fruit quality; Olive; Phytosterols; Squalene; Tocopherols

Full Text:



Allouche Y, Jiménez A, Gaforio JJ, Uceda M, Beltrán G. 2007. How heating affects extra virgin olive oil quality indexes and chemical composition. J. Agric. Food Chem. 55, 9646–9654. PMid:17935291

Aparicio R, Luna G. 2002. Characterisation of monovarietal virgin olive oils. Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol. 104, 614–627.<614::AID-EJLT614>3.0.CO;2-L

Ayton J, Mailer RJ, Robards K, Orchard B, Vonarx M. 2001. Oil concentration and composition of olives during fruit maturation in south-western New South Wales. Aust. J. Exp. Agr. 41, 815–821.

Baccouri B, Ben Temime S, Taamalli W, Daoud D, M'Sallem M, Zarrouk M. 2007. Analytical characteristics of virgin olive oils from two new varieties obtained by controlled crossing on Meski variety. J. Food Lipids 14, 19–34.

Bellini E, Giordani E, Rosati A. 2008. Genetic improvement of olive from clonal selection to cross-breeding programs. Adv. Hortic. Sci. 22, 73–86.

Beltrán G, Aguilera MP, Del Rio C, Sanchez S, Martínez L. 2005. Influence of fruit ripening process on the natural antioxidant content of Hojiblanca virgin olive oils. Food Chem. 89, 207–215.

Beltrán G, Jiménez A, del Rio C, Sánchez S, Martínez L, Uceda M, Aguilera MP. 2010. Variability of vitamin E in virgin olive oil by agronomical and genetic factors. J. Food Comp. Anal. 23, 633–639.

Ben Mansour A, Flamini G, Ben Selma Z, Le Dréau Y, Artaud J, Abdelhedi R, Bouaziz M. 2015a. Olive oil quality is strongly affected by cultivar, maturity index and fruit part: Chemometrical analysis of volatiles, fatty acids, squalene and quality parameters from whole fruit, pulp and seed oils of two Tunisian olive cultivars. Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol.

Ben Mansour A, Gargouri B, Flamini G, Bouaziz M. 2015b. Effect of agricultural sites on differentiation between Chemlali and Neb Jmel olivel oils. J. Oleo Sci. 64, 381–392. PMid:25833451

Ben Sadok I, Celton JM, Essalouh L, El Aabidine AZ, Garcia G, Martinez S, Grati-Kamoun N, Rebai A, Costes E, Khadari B. 2013. QTL mapping of flowering and fruiting traits in olive. PLoS One 8(5), e62831. PMid:23690957 PMCid:PMC3656886

Besnard G, Khadari B, Navascués M, Fernández-Mazuecos M, El Bakkali A, Arrigo N, Baali-Cherif D, Brunini-Bronzini de Caraffa V, Santoni S, Vargas P, Savolainen V. 2013. The complex history of the olive tree: from Late Quaternary diversification of Mediterranean lineages to primary domestication in the northern Levant. Proc. R. Soc. B 280, 20122833. PMid:23390107 PMCid:PMC3574375

Boskou D. 2009. Other important minor constituents, in Boskou D (Ed.) Olive Oil. Minor Constituents and Health. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp. 45-54.

Boskou D. 2011. Olive oil, in Gunstone F (Ed.) Vegetable Oils in Food Technology: Composition, Properties and Uses, 2nd Edn. Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Chichester, UK, pp. 243–272.

Boskou D, Blekas G, Tsimidou M. 2006. Olive oil composition, in Boskou D (Ed.) Olive Oil. Chemistry and Technology. AOCS Press, Champaign, IL, USA, pp. 41–72.

Byrne DH. 2012. Trends in fruit breeding, in Badenes ML, Byrne DH (Eds.) Fruit Breeding. Springer Science + Business Media, New York, pp. 3–36.

De la Rosa R, Talhaoui N, Rouis H, Velasco L, León L. 2013. Fruit characteristics and fatty acid composition in advanced olive breeding selections along the ripening period. Food Res. Int. 54, 1890–1896.

Eitenmiller R, Lee J. 2004. Vitamin E. Food Chemistry, Composition, and Analysis. Marcel Dekker, New York. El Riachy M, Priego-Capote F, León L, Luque de Castro MD, Rallo L. 2011. Virgin olive oil phenolic profile and variability in progenies from olive crosses. J. Sci. Food Agric. 92, 2524–2533.

Fabbri A, Lambardi M, Ozden-Tokatli Y. 2009. Olive breeding, in Jain SM, Priyadarshan PM (Eds.) Breeding Plantation Tree Crops: Tropical Species. Springer Science + Business Media LLC, New York, pp. 423–465. PMid:19294963 PMCid:PMC2647797

Fernández-Cuesta A, León L, Velasco L, De la Rosa R. 2013. Changes in squalene and sterols associated with olive maturation. Food Res. Int. 54, 1885–1889.

Fernandez-Escobar R, Beltran G, Sanchez-Zamora MA, Garcia- Novelo J, Aguilera MP, Uceda M. 2006. Olive oil quality decreases with nitrogen over-fertilization, HortScience 41, 215–219.

Gómez-Rico A., Salvador MD, Moriana A, Pérez D, Olmedilla N, Ribas F, Fregapane G. 2007. Influence of different irrigation strategies in a traditional Cornicabra cv. olive orchard on virgin olive oil composition and quality. Food Chem. 100, 568–578.

Gracia MS, Royo A, Guillén M. 2009. Composición química de aceites de las variedades Arbequina y Empeltre cultivadas en regadío. Grasas Aceites 60, 321–329.

Gu.l MK, Seker M. 2006. Comparative analysis of phytosterol components from rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) and olive (Olea europaea L.) varieties. Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol. 108, 759–765.

Gunstone FD, Harwood JL. (2007) Occurrence and characterisation of oils and fats, in Gunstone FD, Harwood JL, Dijkstra AJ (Eds.) The Lipid Handbook, 3rd Edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp. 37-141.

León L, Rallo L, Del Río C, Martín LM. 2004. Variability and early selection on the seedling stage for agronomic traits in progenies from olive crosses. Plant Breeding 123, 73–78.

León L, De la Rosa R, Gracia A, Barranco D, Rallo L. 2008. Fatty acid composition of advanced olive selections obtained by crossbreeding. J. Sci. Food Agric. 88, 1921–1926.

León L, Beltrán G, Aguilera MP, Rallo L, Barranco D, De La Rosa R. 2011. Oil composition of advanced selections from an olive breeding program. Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol. 113, 870–875.

Manaï H, Mahjoub Haddada F, Trigui A, Daoud D, Zarrouk M. 2007. Compositional quality of virgin olive oil from two new Tunisian cultivars obtained through controlled crossings. J. Sci. Food Agric. 87, 600–606.

Martinelli F, Basile B, Morelli G, d'Andria R, Tonutti P. 2012. Effects of irrigation on fruit ripening behavior and metabolic changes in olive. Sci. Hort. 144, 201–207.

Nergiz C, Çelikkale D. 2011. The effect of consecutive steps of refining on squalene content vegetale oils. J. Food Sci. Technol. 48, 382–385. PMid:23572763 PMCid:PMC3551149

Perez-Jimenez F, Espino A, Lopez-Segura F, Blanco J, Ruiz-Gutierrez V, Prada JL, Lopez-Miranda J, Jimenez-Pereperez J, Ordovas JM. 1995. Lipoprotein concentrations in normolipidemic males consuming oleic acid-rich diets from two different sources: olive oil and oleic acid-rich sunflower oil. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 62, 769–775. PMid:7572707

Piironen V, Lindsay DG, Miettinen TA, Toivo J, Lampi AM. 2000. Plant sterols: biosynthesis, biological function and their importance to human nutrition. J. Sci. Food Agric. 80, 939–966.<939::AID-JSFA644>3.0.CO;2-C

Psaltopoulou T, Naska A, Orfanos P, Trichopoulos D, Mountokalakis T, Trichopoulou A. 2004. Olive oil, the Mediterranean diet, and arterial blood pressure: the Greek European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 80, 1012–1018. PMid:15447913

Psomiadou E, Tsimidou M, Boskou D. 2000. a-Tocopherol content of Greek virgin olive oils. J. Agric. Food Chem. 48, 1770−1775. PMid:10820093

Ripa V, De Rose F, Caravita MA, Parise MR, Perri E, Rosati A, Pandolfi S, Paoletti A, Pannelli G, Padula G, Giordani E, Bellini E, Buccoliero A, Mennone C. 2008. Qualitative evaluation of olive oils from new olive selections and effects of genotype and environment on oil quality. Adv. Hortic. Sci. 22, 95–103.

Rjiba I, Dabbou S, Gazzah N, Hammami M. 2010. Effect of crossbreeding on the chemical composition and biological characteristics of Tunisian new olive progenies. Chem. Biodivers. 7, 649–655. PMid:20232330

Rossell JB. 2001. Factors affecting the quality of frying oils and fats, in Rossell JB (Ed.) Frying: Improving Quality. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp. 115-164.

Sakouhi F, Herchi W, Sbei K, Absalon C, Boukhchina S. 2011. Characterisation and accumulation of squalene and n-alkanes in developing Tunisian Olea europaea L. fruits. Int. J. Food Sci. Technol. 46, 2281-2286.

Sotiroudis TG, Kyrtopoulos SA. 2008. Anticarcinogenic compounds of olive oil and related biomarkers. Eur. J. Nutr. 47 (Suppl 2), 69–72. PMid:18458836

Vekiari SA, Oreopoulou V, Kourkoutas Y, Kamoun N, Msallem M, Psimouli V, Arapoglou D. 2010. Characterization and seasonal variation of the quality of virgin olive oil of the Throumbolia and Koroneiki varieties from Southern Greece. Grasas Aceites 61, 221-231.

Velasco L, Fernández-Cuesta A, De la Rosa R, Ruiz-Méndez MV, León L. 2014. Selection for some olive oil quality components through the analysis of fruit flesh. J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 91, 1731–1736.

Wiesman Z. 2009. Desert olive oil cultivation: Advanced biotechnologies. Academic Press, Burlington, MA, USA.

Copyright (c) 2015 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Spain (CC-by).

Contact us

Technical support