Production

Olive Oil Byproducts Used to Improve Properties of Foods

Oct. 6, 2014
By Luciana Squadrilli

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Prof. Maurizio Servili from Università di Perugia (Photo: Siamo Tutti Cuochi

During the annual work­shop held by Aipol Brescia at Puegnago del Garda, a beau­ti­ful vil­lage facing the Garda Lake and the olive groves which pro­duce an excel­lent extra virgin olive oil, Unaprol pre­sented the results of an inter­est­ing sci­en­tific research about other pos­si­ble uses of olives and olive oil pro­duc­tion byprod­ucts.

Prof. Maurizio Servili from Università di Perugia (the sci­en­tific coor­di­na­tor of the research team of experts work­ing in sev­eral Italian Universities and sup­ported by Unaprol), intro­duced the find­ings.

“Extra virgin olive oil is not the only prod­uct that can be obtained from the olive’s fruit,” he said, “thanks to the con­tri­bu­tion and sup­port of the Italian Olive Oil Consortium, many stud­ies have been car­ried out to under­line new uses and appli­ca­tions for the prod­ucts that can be obtained from the mechan­i­cal pro­cess­ing of virgin olive oil, such as oil waste­water and olive pomace.”

New tech­nolo­gies have been devel­oped to retrieve the bioac­tive phe­no­lic com­pounds from the waste­water. These sub­stances have been tested in the pro­duc­tion of func­tional food enriched with phe­no­lic com­pounds, such as yogurt, cheeses and tomato sauces.

Other stud­ies on the uti­liza­tion of the phe­no­lic com­pounds extracted by the waste­water high­light their antiox­i­dant and antimi­cro­bial prop­er­ties in order to use them as nat­ural food addi­tives. In this con­text, researchers were able to obtain frying oils enriched with phe­no­lic sub­stances that improve their resis­tance to oxi­da­tion and the result­ing qual­ity of the fried food.

Another field of inves­ti­ga­tion on the uses of these sub­stances deals with adding them to fresh or cured pork meat and sausages, aiming to reduce or sub­sti­tute the nitrates com­monly used as chem­i­cal sta­bi­liz­ers. Using the waste­water’s phe­no­lic extracts increased the oxi­da­tion sta­bil­ity of sausages, reduc­ing at the same time the pos­si­ble growth of path­o­genic microor­gan­isms (bac­te­ria or fungi) during the sea­son­ing, curing or con­ser­va­tion of this kind of food.

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Olive pomaces, after being fully depit­ted, were employed as qual­ity animal feed — dried and ensiled — pro­vid­ing sources of fiber, essen­tial fatty acid and bioac­tive phe­no­lic com­pounds.

Consequently, cow and sheep milk qual­ity was found to be improved, show­ing a higher con­tent of oleic acid, vit­a­mins and nat­ural antiox­i­dant sub­stances.

Beef too, when the ani­mals were fed with the pomace, showed better qual­ity regard­ing fat com­po­si­tion and color sta­bil­ity.

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Professor Servili said improv­ing the national olive-grow­ing chain’s prof­itabil­ity can also be achieved, thanks to the research car­ried out with Unaprol’s sup­port. “Through a more ratio­nal and com­plete exploita­tion of olives, increas­ing the prod­ucts’ range that can be obtained from this thou­sand-year old fruit bear­ing unique and one-of-a-kind prop­er­ties and fea­tures.”