Olive (Olea europea L.) Oil

  • Ines Gharbi
  • Mohamed Hammami


Many fruits, seeds, vegetables and plants contain edible oils. Their oils are similar in many respects, but a few minor differences have a significant effect on the characteristics of the oil. The olive tree (Olea europea L.) is one of the most important fruit trees in Mediterranean countries. Its oil is an important component of the Mediterranean diet which is consumed worldwide. The salutistic properties of olive oil such as its high nutritional value, excellent digestibility, high oxidative stability even when used for cooking, strong capacity of prevention of heart and vascular troubles explain the reasons for the increased popularity of olive oil. The large increase in demand for high-quality olive oils is related to their peculiar organoleptic characteristics that play an important role in human nutrition. All these properties are intimately linked to its chemical composition, in particular to several minor components, which are strongly affected by the operative conditions of processing and could be considered as analytical markers of its quality. Virgin olive oil is unique because, in contrast to other vegetable oils, it is consumed in its crude state without any further physical-chemical treatments of refining. Thus, natural components having a great biological action are retained, although the potential presence of some contaminants is increased.


Mediterranean diet Organoleptic Phospholipids Diterpene alcohols Virgin oil 


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Ines Gharbi
    • 1
  • Mohamed Hammami
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory LR12ES05 Lab-NAFS ‘Nutrition – Functional Food & Vascular Health’, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MonastirMonastirTunisia

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