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Title: Volatile constituents of commercial imported and domestic black-ripe table olives (Olea europaea)

item SANSONE-LAND, ANGELINA - University Of California
item Takeoka, Gary
item SHOEMAKER, CHARLES - University Of California

Submitted to: Journal of Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/21/2013
Publication Date: 10/31/2013
Publication URL:
Citation: Sansone-Land, A., Takeoka, G.R., Shoemaker, C. 2013. Volatile constituents of commercial imported and domestic black-ripe table olives (Olea europaea). Journal of Food Chemistry. 149:285-295. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.10.090.

Interpretive Summary: Although the production and consumption of table olives are increasing worldwide, there has been a decrease in table olive production and consumption in the United States. The U.S. still purchased imported table olives valued at $400 million in 2012 to meet consumer demands. However, due to lack of standard quality regulations, some imported olives have numerous sensory defects such as rancidity, metallic, gassy and soapy/medicinal flavors which are not found in domestic olives. We identified and quantified aroma constituents of various samples of domestic and imported (Spain, Egypt and Morocco) black-ripe olives. Domestic olives contained a fairly homogenous composition of volatiles while the imported olives had a much more diverse and complex mixture of volatiles. In addition to the same volatiles present in domestic samples, imported samples had volatiles typically associated with fermentation. We believe that the fermentation products produced off-flavors such as alcohol, artificial fruity, gassy, vinegary and rancid in some of the imported samples. At present, USDA has limited tools for enforcing black-ripe olive quality standards in the U.S. which limits the ability of the agency to prevent poor-quality products from being sold in the U.S. With this knowledge we will be able to develop standards for a testing protocol to be used by USDA to evaluate black-ripe olive quality.

Technical Abstract: Volatile constituents of commercial black-ripe table olives (Olea europaea) from the United States, Spain, Egypt and Morocco were analyzed by gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Dynamic headspace sampling was used to isolate a variety of aldehydes, alcohols, esters, ketones, phenols, terpenes, norisoprenoids, and pyridines. Odor unit values, calculated from concentration and odor threshold data, indicate that the following compounds are major contributors to black-ripe table olive aroma: '-damascenone, nonanal, (E)-2-decenal, 3-methylbutanal, ethyl benzoate, octanal, 2-methoxyphenol, 2-methylbutanal, and 2-methoxy-4-methylphenol. Imported olives contained a variety of fermentation-derived volatiles that were not detected in domestic olives. Constituents such as ethyl 2-methylbutanoate, ethyl 3-methylbutanoate, 3-methylbutyl acetate, 1-octen-3-one, ethyl hexanoate, (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate, hexyl acetate, ethyl cyclohexanecarboxylate, benzyl acetate, and 4-ethylphenol contributed to the odor of imported olives but were not detected in domestic olives.