Australian researchers have identified different components in olive oils grown in two mainland states, giving growers new ways to market their product.
The findings, part of a project funded by the successful Farming Together program, could lead to a location-verification system.
Grower groups hope the method will be adopted by all Australian states keen to explore differentiation in their products.
Olive Centre CEO Amanda Bailey and SA olive oil expert Dr Richard Gawel undertook the analysis focussing on two health-giving components, phenols and an important bioactive, squalene, in oils from Frantoio olives. This variety was used as the baseline for the project.
“It was the first time anyone had ever compared the polyphenol profiles in oils from different locations in Australia,” said Ms Bailey. “And it was the first time anyone had tested squalene levels.”
Dr Gawel said: “Squalene in particular is becoming a rock-star in the health world, with some Japanese buyers insisting on minimum levels of this rare antioxidant found only in extra virgin olive oil and, surprisingly, shark livers. Pure squalene is also used in exclusive cosmetics and skin formulations. Understanding how regionality affects these components will be valuable to Australian growers.”