Is Olea ferruginea an alternative to the Olea europaea?

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The idea was born from a project developed at the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, U.O.S. Cesena (Italy), under the direction of Prof. Tullia Gallina Toschi and in collaboration with the Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology and the Department of Botany of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi (Pakistan).

The research was aimed to compare the quality parameters of oils obtained by simple mechanical extraction of drupes of the species Olea ferruginea Royle, from three different locations of Pakistan, with those related to an oil produced by Olea europaea trees, grown on site. All samples were produced by a pilot plant laboratory, present at the University in Pakistan.

The results of the trial were presented in an article published in 2013 in a Special issue that concerned the olive oils (Olive Oil – Quality, Composition and Health Benefits) of the journal “Food Research International” (Anwar et al., 2013). In particular, the oils obtained from olives of the species Olea ferruginea, despite they were classified as “lampante” because of the poor quality of the raw material (olives picked at a very advanced state of maturation and not stored correctly before processing), showed a similar chemical composition to that typical of the oil obtained from Olea europaea, except for negligible amounts of erucic acid and brassicasterol and the presence of linoleic acid slightly more than 1%.

The oils obtained from Olea ferruginea were characterized by lower concentrations of phenolic compounds and tocopherols, and by a lower antioxidant activity than the oil obtained from Olea europaea, although richer in β-carotene and lutein.

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