Reproducibility of the bromthymol blue standards used for color specification of virgin olive oil

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Three replicates were prepared for each of 60 BTB (bromthymol blue) standards, which are usually employed to determine the color of virgin olive and seed oils, and their colors were measured by spectrophotometric and spectroradiometric techniques on a monthly basis over a year. Although in principle both techniques are valid, their results are weakly correlated. The major color change of the BTB standards occurred soon after sample preparation; after 5 mon, the color stabilized at approximately 3.0 Commission Internationale de l’Éclairage 1976-(L*a*b*) (CIELAB) units, with respect to the initial values. Therefore, after preparation, a certain waiting period would be advisable before using the BTB standards. The color of the BTB standards changes over time in the sense of becoming lighter, more saturated, and less greenish. In the monthly periods after the fifth month, the average color change of the BTB standards was negligible, being slightly lower than the average variability of the three replicates (which is around 1.5 CIELAB units).