Chemometric criteria for the characterisation of Italian Protected Denomination of Origin (DOP) olive oils from their metabolic profiles

Giorgio Bianchi, Lucia Giansante, Adrian Shaw, Douglas B. Kell

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    This study was conducted and carried out as a consequence of the European directives n°2081/92 and n°2037/93 in which regulations for the protection of denomination of origin of food commodities were established. The research work was intended to investigate if monovarietal oils may be differentiated by their basic chemical composition. A positive outcome of this pilot study would hopefully permit extension to the characterisation of Italian DOP (Protected Denomination of Origin) olive oils. In the olive, long-chain alcohols, triterpenes and fatty acids, formed in distinct biosynthetic compartments, provide characteristic compositional data of an olive cultivar. The three classes of compounds were qualitatively and quantitatively determined by GC in six Italian olive cultivars, Coratina and Provenzale from Puglia, Frantoio and Moraiolo from Toscana, Bosana from Sardegna and Dritta from Abruzzo. Basic statistics and multivariate methods were first applied to the GC data of each class of compounds and then to the complete set of data with the aim of obtaining a clear discrimination of the cultivars. When Principal Components Analysis (PCA) was applied to the whole set of data consisting of alcohols, triterpenes and acids, the PCA revealed that the compounds (variables) that gave the better class distinction were: cycloartenol for Coratina, acids C20:0, C17:0, C18:0 for Dritta, citrostadienol for Frantoio and β-sitosterol for Moraiolo. Bosana and Provenzale correlated with erythrodiol and uvaol. A correct assignment of each oil sample to its monovarietal group was obtained.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)141-150
    Number of pages9
    JournalEuropean Journal of Lipid Science and Technology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


    • Chemometrics
    • Monovarietal olive oils
    • Olive metabolites


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