Extra Virgin Olive Oil Phenolic Compounds

Virgin olive oil is a functional food rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (mainly oleic acid) and is a source of minor bioactive compounds. The main phenolic compounds in olive oil are hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol, as well as polyphenols from the group of secoiridoids, such as the dialdehydic forms of oleuropein and ligstroside, attached to a carboxymethyl group or in the form of aglycones.

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Olive oil is the characteristic fat of the Mediterranean diet, which has been associated with a lower incidence of coronary heart disease and some types of cancer. The biological benefits of virgin olive oil in preventing the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) appear to be not only linked to its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids, but also to its phenolic content.

The quality of olive oil is related to its chemical composition, its oxidative stability and sensory characteristics. These parameters are affected by the edaphoclimatic conditions, the agronomic practices, the variety of the olive trees, the degree of maturity of the olives and, finally, by the technological parameters of the processing.

Our Studies

To develop methodologies for the characterization of the phenolic profile, α-tocopherol and β-carotene in virgin olive oils, the determination of hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol in human urine samples, and the polyphenols metabolites of olive oil in the fraction of low-density lipoproteins.

Study the effect of the type of extraction and the different parameters during the extraction process on the phenolic profile of the oil.

Carry out clinical trials in humans to study the bioavailability of these compounds and their metabolites, both in plasma and urine, which support the hypothesis that a daily intake of virgin olive oil promotes protection against the changes suffered by LDL prior to its oxidation.