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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2007;47(5):441-98.

Implementation of physicochemical and sensory analysis in conjunction with multivariate analysis towards assessing olive oil authentication/adulteration.

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University of Thessaly, School of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agriculture Animal Production and Aquatic Environment, Volos, Hellas, Greece.


The authenticity of products labeled as olive oils, and in particular as virgin olive oils, stands for a very important issue both in terms of its health and commercial aspects. In view of the continuously increasing interest in virgin olive oil therapeutic properties, the traditional methods of characterization and physical and sensory analysis were further enriched with more advanced and sophisticated methods such as HPLC-MS, HPLC-GC/C/IRMS, RPLC-GC, DEPT, and CSIA among others. The results of both traditional and "novel" methods were treated both by means of classical multivariate analysis (cluster, principal component, correspondence, canonical, and discriminant) and artificial intelligence methods showing that nowadays the adulteration of virgin olive oil with seed oil is detectable at very low percentages, sometimes even at less than 1%. Furthermore, the detection of geographical origin of olive oil is equally feasible and much more accurate in countries like Italy and Spain where databases of physical/chemical properties exist. However, this geographical origin classification can also be accomplished in the absence of such databases provided that an adequate number of oil samples are used and the parameters studied have "discriminating power."

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