` Tapping Hidden Value in Liquid Gold - Olive Oil Times

Tapping Hidden Value in Liquid Gold

May. 13, 2011
Costas Vasilopoulos

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Consumers are accus­tomed to per­ceiv­ing olive oil as pri­mar­ily used in their kitchen or, at most, as an ingre­di­ent of numer­ous prod­ucts like soaps and cos­met­ics. For oth­ers, olive oil stands for a lot more; it offers new ways of exploita­tion and opens new chan­nels and sources of income. Read on for two cases of extra­or­di­nary olive oil appli­ca­tions.

The depart­ments of Biology and Medicine of the University of Crete joined forces in research that lead to the inven­tion of a new med­i­cine which is expected to have effects against the cold and flu. This med­i­cine is pio­neer­ing in the sense that it is made of nat­ural com­pounds only: olive oil and herbs.

The research showed that three spe­cific herbs from Crete mixed with olive oil can fight the symp­toms of the com­mon flu and act as an anal­gesic drug. The exact com­po­si­tion is kept secret, although the for­mula has been inspired by the habits of Cretans who tra­di­tion­ally use the gifts of Mother Earth to fight health prob­lems.

The con­coc­tion has already been patented and will most likely be accred­ited by the Greek drug asso­ci­a­tion (EOF). It is expected to be released by the end of 2012 in the form of a cap­sule. In con­junc­tion with the already known effect of oleo­can­thal, an ingre­di­ent of extra vir­gin olive oil, it seems that the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try has dis­cov­ered an impor­tant new player.

Another uni­ver­sity research again in Crete enabled sci­en­tists to fab­ri­cate a spe­cial fil­ter which with­holds a valu­able ele­ment of the residue that is left after the olive oil extrac­tion process: the phe­nols. Phenols are known for their antiox­i­dant attrib­utes and with proper pro­cess­ing they can be used in the food indus­try as added ingre­di­ents.


This achieve­ment is part of a new holis­tic approach to the prob­lem of the envi­ron­men­tal impact of olive oil oil mills. The direct effect is that the liq­uid residue is relieved of some of its organic load, but there is more to it than meets the eye: phe­nols are sold for approx­i­mately $2,000 a kilo and the annual capac­ity of the two olive oil mills that will uti­lize the sys­tem gives 3,000 tons of olive oil, mean­ing that 500 kilos of phe­nols a year can be sold to the food busi­ness allow­ing for some sub­stan­tial profit. Just do the math.

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