Photo: AINA

Andalucia’s AINIA Technology Center has created a new method for instantly and non-invasively classifying olive oils. Using optical spectroscopy, or VIS/NIR, it can identify whether an oil is extra virgin, virgin or lampante.

It does so via a test, which is completed in just a few seconds, that can provide a full spectral fingerprint of the oil, producing data on various quality indicators, such as total acidity, peroxide index, polyphenols, oxidative stability, and more.

Lorenzo Cervera, from AINIA’s Department of Instrumentation and Automation, explained to Olive Oil Times, “It analyzes the olive oil’s spectral fingerprint in the visible and near-infrared (portion of the electromagnetic spectrum) since the oil absorbs the infrared light in a different way based on its composition and quality.”

Such testing can be completed at various control points, allowing olive oil to be stored based on its different characteristics, thus maintaining the oil’s quality, identity and traceability. Ultimately, this will permit producers and labs to maximize production and leave less room for error and economic loss.

As for when the testing method will be available for use, said Cervera, “It still isn’t ready as a commercial product, but we are taking the necessary steps so that it can reach the market.”

The testing method was conceived of by AINIA as part of the Spanish National Research Council’s (CSIC) Recupera 2020 project. AINIA is collaborating with almost 40 other investigative groups to develop technology and innovation that benefits the Andalucia’s agricultural sector.

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