Pulsed Electric Technology Increases Yield and Quality, Study Finds

A study from the University of Perugia confirms that pulsed electric field technology increases both the quality and yield for three different olive cultivars.

Oct. 28, 2019
By Matthew Loffhagen

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Olive oil yield and qual­ity can be sig­nif­i­cantly improved through the use of pulsed elec­tric field (PEF) tech­nol­ogy, a new study has found.

The study, which was con­ducted by researchers at the University of Perugia in Italy, found that pass­ing an elec­tri­cal cur­rent through olive paste saw between a 2.3 per­cent and six per­cent increase in olive oil yield. The use of PEF tech­nol­ogy also sig­nif­i­cantly increased the qual­ity of the oil that was pro­duced from this extrac­tion method.

The OliveCEPT as a fin­ished prod­uct ensures an extrac­tion increase by at least five per­cent and increases the qual­ity by increased polyphe­nols, richer taste, bet­ter color and higher oxida­tive resis­tance.- Johan Möllerström, CEO of Arc Aroma

The study involved test­ing three dif­fer­ent olive cul­ti­vars – Carolea, Coratina, and Ottobratica – in order to test their rel­a­tive yields when oil was extracted using PEF. All three cul­ti­vars pro­duced both higher qual­ity and quan­tity of oil as a result of this extrac­tion method.

This break­through in oil extrac­tion comes cour­tesy of Arc Aroma’s OliveCEPT machine. Using an elec­tric pulse to break down the cell walls within olives, it is pos­si­ble to drain more oil from within the flesh of the fruit.

See Also:Olive Oil Research News

In addi­tion to this increase in oil yield, OliveCEPT also has a for­tu­itous side effect: the oil pro­duced from PEF tech­nol­ogy is of a higher qual­ity than oil pro­duced from tra­di­tional meth­ods. The oil is purer and has a longer shelf life.

According to Arc Aroma CEO Johan Möllerström, there had ini­tially been con­cerns that PEF extrac­tion might lead to greater oxi­da­tion of the oil as it was being extracted, thereby reduc­ing the time before the oil would start to decay.


In fact, the oppo­site was observed with CEPT treated oil hav­ing a higher resis­tance to oxi­da­tion and thus was proved to have longer shelf life than untreated due to the increased con­cen­tra­tion of antiox­i­dants in the oil,” Möllerström said.

Research into PEF has been under­way for sev­eral years at this point. Due to the time involved in the process of con­duct­ing, writ­ing, and pub­lish­ing aca­d­e­mic lit­er­a­ture, the results in the recently pub­lished study from the University of Perugia was con­ducted using an early pro­to­type of the OliveCEPT machine.

According to Möllerström, the pri­mary ben­e­fit of the research that went into the study was that it allowed Arc Aroma to accu­rately mea­sure the impact of PEF on the three tested olive cul­ti­vars. It was impor­tant to deter­mine whether PEF would be use­ful for a sin­gle type of olives, or whether it would pro­vide sim­i­lar results for a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent com­mer­cially used cul­ti­vars.

Since all three types of olives pro­duced a bet­ter yield when sub­jected to a pulsed elec­tri­cal field, it became clear that the tech­nol­ogy could be put to use on dif­fer­ent cul­ti­vars of olives.

In the time since the University of Perugia’s study was con­ducted, the OliveCEPT tech­nol­ogy has been refined into a final­ized com­mer­cial prod­uct, which Möllerström said offers even bet­ter results than have been reported in the study.

The OliveCEPT as a fin­ished prod­uct ensures an extrac­tion increase by at least five per­cent and increases the qual­ity by increased polyphe­nols, richer taste, bet­ter color and higher oxida­tive resis­tance,” he said.

As it has been proven that PEF can be applied to many dif­fer­ent kinds of olives, Arc Aroma is also under­tak­ing research into addi­tional uses for the tech­nol­ogy. The com­pany has also devel­oped a sim­i­lar machine, JuiceCEPT, which applies the same PEF tech­nol­ogy to the extrac­tion of fruit juices.

According to Arc Aroma, JuiceCEPT sim­i­larly pro­vides a higher qual­ity and quan­tity of fruit juice, and Möllerström said it will be inter­est­ing to see what other food pro­duc­tion fields might ben­e­fit from the appli­ca­tion of PEF.

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