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Food Chem Toxicol. 2000 Aug;38(8):647-59.

Phenolic compounds and squalene in olive oils: the concentration and antioxidant potential of total phenols, simple phenols, secoiridoids, lignansand squalene.

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Division of Toxicology and Cancer Risk Factors, German Cancer Research Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the phenolic antioxidant and squalene content in a range of olive and seed oils. A mean of 290 +/- 38 (SEM) mg squalene/100 g was detected. However, while there was a weak significant difference between extra virgin (424 +/- 21 mg/kg) and refined virgin (340 +/- 31 mg/100 g; P<0.05) olive oils, highly significant differences were evident between extra virgin olive oils (P<0.0001) refined virgin olive oils (P<0.0001) and seed oils (24 +/- 5 mg/100 g). While seed oils were devoid, on average, the olive oils contained 196 +/- 19 mg/kg total phenolics as judged by HPLC analysis, but the value for extra virgin (232 +/- 15 mg/kg) was significantly higher than that of refined virgin olive oil (62 +/- 12 mg/kg; P<0.0001). Appreciable quantities of simple phenols (hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol) were detected in olive oils, with significant differences between extravirgin (41.87 +/- 6.17) and refined virgin olive oils (4.72 +/- 215; P<0.01). The major linked phenols were secoiridoids and lignans. Although extra virgin contained higher concentrations of secoiridoids (27.72 +/- 6.84) than refined olive oils (9.30 +/- 3.81) this difference was not significant. On the other hand, the concentration of lignans was significantly higher (P<0.001) in extra virgin (41.53 +/- 3.93) compared to refined virgin olive oils (7.29 +/- 2.56). All classes of phenolics were shown to be potent antioxidants. In future epidemiologic studies, both the nature and source of olive oil consumed should be differentiated in ascertaining cancer risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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