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J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Mar 9;53(5):1354-63.

Nondestructive evaluation of anthocyanins in olive (Olea europaea) fruits by in situ chlorophyll fluorescence spectroscopy.

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  • 1Istituto di Fisica Applicata 'Nello Carrara', CNR, Via Madonna del Piano (Edificio C), I-50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy.


Anthocyanins (Anths) in olive (Olea europaea L.) fruits at different degrees of pigmentation were assessed nondestructively by measuring chlorophyll fluorescence (ChlF). The method is based on the comparison of the ChlF excitation spectra from olives with different pigmentation from green to green-red, reddish-purple, and purple. The logarithm of the ratio between the fluorescence excitation spectra (logFER) from two different colored zones gave the difference in the absorption spectrum between them. The absorbance spectrum derived from the logFER between a red olive and the same olive devoid of the skin showed the typical Anth green band (at 550 nm). It matched that recorded by microspectrophotometry on a single pulp cell and the in vitro absorbance spectrum of the olive skin extract. As expected, the in vivo Anths absorption maximum increased in intensity going from less to more mature olives and was higher in the sun-exposed olive side with respect to the sun-shaded side. Absolute quantitative nondestructive determination of Anths for each olive sample was obtained by the logFER calculated for two excitation wavelengths, 550 and 625 nm, of ChlF at 740 nm. Going from green to purple skin colors, the Log[ChlF(625)/ChlF(550)] was fairly well-correlated to the extract Anths concentration. Finally, the relationship between the Anths and the other main phenolics present in the olives analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography was evaluated. The main result was a net increase of verbascoside with increasing Anths content. On the basis of our results, the development of a new rapid and noninvasive method for the monitoring of olive development and ripening can be envisaged.

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