, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp 192-196

Pigments present in virgin olive oil

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The qualitative and quantitative control of pigments in ripe olives and in extracted virgin olive oil has increased our knowledge of the influence on these compounds in the areas of ripening of the fruit, storage time in the factory and the oil extraction process. As the harvesting time of the fruits increases, pigment content decreases. During storage, the presence of lipoxygenase has been detected, as well as a considerable decrease in chlorophylls and a small decrease in carotenoids. During the extraction process, the chlorophyllic fraction is destroyed in the greater part, and although the carotenoid fraction is also affected, its concentration increases in the oil with respect to that in the fresh fruit. In the pigment degradation, in addition to the acid-catalyzed reaction, the presence of lipoxygenase suggests a role for this enzyme.