The aim of this study was to characterise the pigment profile (chlorophylls and carotenoids) of monovarietal virgin olive oils from six Italian olive cultivars (Ghiacciolo, Giarraffa, Sant’Agatese, Biancolilla, Nocellara del Belice and Gentile di Larino), from three Italian olive-growing regions (Emilia-Romagna, Sicily and Molise). The results show that the qualitative study of the pigment chlorophyll and carotenoid fractions of virgin olive oils demonstrated a common pattern that did not depend on the olive cultivar or growing region. Besides these, mutatoxanthin was only detected in oils from the Nocellara del Belice and Gentile di Larino cultivars, and pheophorbide a was only detected in oils from the Ghiacciolo and Sant’Agatese cultivars. However, significant quantitative differences were observed in the composition of the pigment fractions. The principal component discriminate analysis showed that the first two discriminate functions of the statistical analysis explained 78.9% of the total variance. The plot of discriminate functions showed an effect of the olive cultivar and growing area on the chlorophyll and carotenoid contents of the virgin olive oils. The results of this study are a contribution to the pigment characterization of the Italian monovarietal olive oils, which should be completed with more samples obtained from different crop seasons and different growing areas.
Chlorophylls Carotenoids Color Italian virgin olive oil