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J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jun 2;52(11):3434-40.

Influence of harvest date and crop yield on the fatty acid composition of virgin olive oils from cv. Picual.

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Estación de Olivicultura y Elaiotecnia, CIFA 'Venta del Llano', Instituto Andaluz de Investigación y Formación Agraria, Pesquera, Junta de Andalucía, PO Box 50, E-23620 Mengíbar, Jaén, Spain.


In this study was analyzed the effect of crop year and harvesting time on the fatty acid composition of cv. Picual virgin olive oil. The study was carried out during the fruit ripening period for three crop seasons. The mean fatty acid composition of Picual oils was determined. The oils contained palmitic acid (11.9%), oleic acid (79.3%), and linoleic acid (2.95%). The content of palmitic acid and saturated fatty acids decreased during fruit ripening while oleic and linoleic acids increased. The amount of stearic and linolenic acids decreased. The amount of saturated acids, palmitic and stearic, and the polyunsaturated acids linoleic and linolenic was dependent on the time of harvest, whereas the amount of oleic acid varied with the crop year. The differences observed between crop years for both palmitic and linoleic acid may be explained by the differences in the temperature during oil biosynthesis and by the amount of summer rainfall for oleic acid content. A significant relationship was observed between the MUFA/PUFA ratio and the oxidative stability measured by the Rancimat method.

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