Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society

, Volume 93, Issue 9, pp 1265–1273 | Cite as

The Chemical Properties and Volatile Compounds of Virgin Olive Oil from Oueslati Variety: Influence of Maturity Stages in Olives

  • Youssef OuniEmail author
  • Guido Flamini
  • Mokhtar Zarrouk
Original Paper


The aim of the present work was to investigate the influence of fruit ripening on oil quality and volatile compounds in an attempt to establish an optimum harvesting time for Oueslati olives, the minor olive variety cultivated in Tunisia. Our results showed that many analytical parameters, i.e., peroxide value, UV absorbance at 232–270 nm, chlorophyll pigments, carotenoids and oleic acid contents decreased during ripening, whilst linolenic acid increased. Free acidity remained practically stable with a very slight rise at the highest maturity index. The volatile compounds emitted by the Oueslati olive oil were characterized and quantified by HS-SPME-GC-EIMS. Twenty-three volatile compounds were identified, mainly aldehydes, sesquiterpenes and esters. The results show variations in the volatile fractions and quality parameters of Oueslati extra virgin olive oil obtained at different olive-ripening stages. Fifteen sesquiterpenes were identified for the first time in this cultivar, mainly hydrocarbon derivatives, but also oxygenated ones. On the basis of the quality parameters and volatile fractions studied, the best stage of Oueslati olive fruits for oil processing seems to be at ripeness index about 3.0. Indeed, these results suggested the possibility of using sesquiterpenes for olive authenticity and traceability and demonstrated that the volatile fractions can be used as indicators of the degree of ripening of the olives used to obtain the corresponding virgin olive oils.


Virgin olive oil Quality parameters Chemometrics analysis Ripening Volatile compounds HS-SPME-GC-EIMS 



This work had been done as a part of a National Research Project. We thank the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology for financially supporting this program. This work was supported by our Ministry of High Education, Scientific Research and Technology. Part of this work was carried out the Dipartimento di Farmacia, University of Pisa, Italy. The authors gratefully acknowledge the personnel of the Laboratories.


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biotechnologie de l’OlivierCentre de Biotechnologie de Borj-CedriaHammam-LifTunisia
  2. 2.Dipartimento di FarmaciaPisaItaly

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