Chemosensory Perception

, 1:258 | Cite as

Relationship Between Sensory Evaluation Performed by Italian and Spanish Official Panels and Volatile and Phenolic Profiles of Virgin Olive Oils

  • Lorenzo CerretaniEmail author
  • Maria Desamparados SalvadorEmail author
  • Alessandra Bendini
  • Giuseppe Fregapane


Virgin olive oil (VOO) is typified by characteristic, pleasant sensory notes that differentiate it from other edible oils. Sensory taste, together with nutritional aspects, is the main reason for the increase in consumption of VOO in recent years. Sensory analysis is required by European Official Regulations for olive oil in order to classify the product in commercial categories. In this study, the relationship between sensory and chemical composition has been investigated. In particular, 16 VOO samples (15 from a single variety of olives), produced in Italy and Spain (eight from each country), were analyzed. Sensory attributes were valued by four panels (three officially recognized both by IOOC and National Ministry: two Italian and two Spanish) employing a total of 59 tasters. Volatile and phenolic compounds were related to olfactory and gustative notes, respectively. Volatile compounds were then separated, identified, and quantified, starting from oil samples, by solid phase microextraction and capillary gas chromatographic analysis using a mass spectrometry detector (SPME/cGC-MSD). Furthermore, the phenolic profile was examined by high-performance liquid chromatography with diode-array and mass spectrometry detectors (HPLC-DAD/MSD). Correlations were found between the major volatile compounds (sum of aldehydes C6) and orthonasal perception of olive fruity and retronasal odor of almond. Additional correlations with bitterness and pungency were observed for tyrosol and oleuropein aglycon, respectively.


Virgin Olive Oil Sensory Analysis Panel Test Volatile Compounds Phenolic Compounds 



Capillary gas chromatography


Diode-array detector


Electron ionization


High-performance liquid chromatography


International Olive Oil Council




Mass-spectrometer detector


Quantitative descriptive analysis


Solid phase microextraction


Virgin olive oil



The authors would like to acknowledge the enormous help and willingness of the four taste panel leaders Barbara Alfei (Ancona), Stefano Terenziani (Perugia), Juan Ramón Izquierdo (Madrid), Sergio Gómez-Alonso (Toledo), and especially all the assessors that contributed to this experimental research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze degli AlimentiUniversità di BolognaCesena (FC)Italy
  2. 2.Departamento de Tecnología de AlimentosUniversidad de Castilla-La ManchaCiudad RealSpain

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