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J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Feb 11;52(3):531-7.

Comparative study of methods for DNA preparation from olive oil samples to identify cultivar SSR alleles in commercial oil samples: possible forensic applications.

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  • 1Phylogene, Espace Innovation 2, 110, allée C. Babbage, 30035 Nîmes Cedex, France.


Virgin olive oil is made from diverse cultivars either mixed or single. Those ensure different tastes and typicity, and these may be also enhanced by the region of production of cultivars. The different olive oil labels correspond to their chemical composition and acidity. Labels also may correspond to a protected origin indication, and thus, such oils contain a given composition in cultivars. To verify the main cultivars used at the source of an olive oil sample, our method is based on DNA technology. DNA is present in all olive oil samples and even in refined oil, but the quantity may depend on the oil processing technology and oil conservation conditions. Thus, several supports were used to retain DNA checking different techniques (silica extraction, hydroxyapatite, magnetic beads, and spun column) to prepare DNA from variable amounts of oil. At this stage, it was usable for amplification through PCR technology and especially with the magnetic beads, and further purification processes were checked. Finally, the final method used magnetic beads. DNA is released from beads in a buffer. Once purified, we showed that it did not contain compounds inhibiting PCR amplification using SSR primers. Aliquot dilution fractions of this solution were successfully routinely used through PCR with different SSR primer sets. This enables confident detection of eventual alien alleles in oil samples. First applied to virgin oil samples of known composition, either single cultivars or mixtures of them, the method was verified working on commercial virgin oil samples using bottles bought in supermarkets. Last, we defined a protocol starting from 2 x 40 mL virgin olive oil, and DNA was prepared routinely in about 5 h. It was convenient to genotype together several loci per sample to check whether alleles were in accordance with those of expected cultivars. Thus, forensic applications of our method are expected. However, the method needs further improvement to work on all oil samples.

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