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Research Article

Received: 30 March 2015 Revised: 5 August 2015 Accepted article published: 7 August 2015 Published online in Wiley Online Library: 9 September 2015

(wileyonlinelibrary.com) DOI 10.1002/jsfa.7373

In situ evaluation of the fruit and oil


characteristics of the main Lebanese olive
germplasm
Ali Chehade,a* Ahmad El Bitar,a Aline Kadri,a Elia Choueiri,b Rania Nabbout,c
Hiyam Youssef,d Maha Smeha,c Ali Awada,d Ziad Al Chami,e Eustachio
Dubla,e Antonio Trani,f Donato Mondellif and Franco Famianig*

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Very little information is available on the characteristics of the Lebanese olive germplasm. Therefore, the aim of
this work was to evaluate the fruit and oil characteristics of the main Lebanese olive varieties (Aayrouni, Abou chawkeh, Baladi,
Del and Soury) from two successive crop seasons (2010–2011).

RESULTS: All of the genotypes had medium–high oil content in the fruit, indicating their suitability for oil production; Aayrouni
had particularly high values. The variety Abou chawkeh also had a high pulp/pit ratio, which is a very desirable trait in table
olives. For all the varieties the values of free fatty acids, peroxide values, absorbances in ultraviolet, fatty acid composition,
sterol content and composition and erythrodiol + uvaol content of the oils were within the requirements of the International
Olive Council’s Trade Standard for extra virgin olive oil. The only exception was for the values of 𝚫-7-stigmastenol in 2011 in
Soury and, especially, in Baladi, which were higher than 0.5%. In some cases, stearic and arachidic acids fluctuated around the
maximum values allowed.

CONCLUSION: The findings of this study provide a first picture of the main characteristics of olives and oils currently produced
in Lebanon.
© 2015 Society of Chemical Industry

Keywords: arachidic acid; Δ-7-stigmastenol; Olea europaea L; stearic acid; sterol composition; uvaol and erythrodiol

INTRODUCTION Lebanese and this has probably contributed to the heterogeneity


The olive (Olea europaea L.) holds a major place in Lebanese found with the name Baladi.
agriculture.1 It covers about 21% of the total cultivated area
(58 600 ha of 279 048 ha) and 69% of the land cultivated with fruit
∗ Correspondence to: A Chehade, LARI, LebaneseAgricultural Research Institute,
trees (84 500 ha). Olives are grown in the north (42% of the total),
Tal Amara Station, Department of Plant Biotechnology, P.O. Box 287, Zahleh,
south (37%), Mount of Lebanon (17%) and the Bekaa Valley (4%). Lebanon, E-mail: alichehade@hotmail.com; or F Famiani, Dipartimento di
In Lebanon, there are 485 olive oil mills, but only 15% of them use Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali, Università degli Studi di Perugia,
modern continuous-extraction systems. The others are traditional Borgo XXGiugno, 74-06121 Perugia, Italy. E-mail: franco.famiani@unipg.it
ones and have a very low processing capacity.
a LARI, Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute, Tal Amara Station, Department
The Lebanese olive germplasm is characterised by a high level of
of Plant Biotechnology, P.O. Box 287, Zahleh, Lebanon
diversity. There are more than 40 accessions cultivated throughout
the country. However, four local varieties, Abou chawkeh, Baladi, b LARI, Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute, Tal Amara Station, Department
Del and Soury, are the most cultivated in commercial plantations of Plant Protection, Zahleh, Lebanon
used for both oil and table olives.1 The variety Ayrouni is less c LARI, Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute, Kfarchakhna Station, Kfar-
widespread, but is interesting because it seems to have a high oil chakhna, Lebanon
content.
Baladi, the most widespread variety in Lebanon, has been d LARI, Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute, Tyre Station, Tyre, Lebanon
shown to have a large morphological variability.2 This variabil- e IAMB – Agronomic Mediterranean Institute of Bari, Via Ceglie, 9, 70010 Valen-
ity is most likely the result of its broad geographical distribution zano (BA), Italy
throughout Lebanon, associated with different environmental
conditions and cultural practices, and of clonal variation after f Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo della Pianta e degli Alimenti, Università degli
Studi “Aldo Moro’, Bari, Italy
years of domestication.2 – 4 Moreover, Baladi means ‘local’, that is,
something autochthonous. Hence, the name Baladi has been used g Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali, Università degli Studi
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by farmers to indicate olive genotypes that were believed to be di Perugia, Borgo XX Giugno, 74–06121 Perugia, Italy

J Sci Food Agric 2016; 96: 2532–2538 www.soci.org © 2015 Society of Chemical Industry
Characteristics of the main Lebanese olive germplasm www.soci.org

Until now, studies of Lebanese olive germplasm have mainly


regarded morphological and molecular characterisation,2,4
whereas very few have been carried out to evaluate the com-
mercial characteristics of the fruit and oil quality.
Characterisation of fruit and oil traits of the main Lebanese
olive varieties is important for making the best choices for the
AMIOUN
establishment of new olive orchards. Moreover, it is useful for
FEKEHE
determining the level of quality of the oil produced by the different
varieties and if they meet the qualitative standards required by the
international market.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the fruit and oil
characteristics of the main Lebanese olive varieties, by studying
them during the normal harvesting time in Lebanon, in the areas NIHA
where they have the largest distribution (in situ evaluation).

MATERIALS AND METHODS


Plant material
The study was carried out in the 2010 and 2011 harvesting sea-
BAKKIFA
sons. It covered five locations in three regions: northern Lebanon,
southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley (Fig. 1, Table 1).
Five varieties were included in the study: Aayrouni in the north
of Lebanon, Soury and Baladi in the south of Lebanon, and Del and
AIN BAAL
Abou chawkeh in the Bekaa Valley (Table 1, Fig. 1). All the varieties QANA
were studied in the areas where they have the largest distribution.
On the basis of a preliminary study, carried out by the Lebanese
Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) to identify the most represen-
tative trees for the main Lebanese olive varieties,5 for each variety Figure 1. Locations of the five olive varieties studied in Lebanon.
a single tree was selected and labelled and used to evaluate fruit
and oil traits. The same tree was used for morphological, molecular
and sanitary evaluations.1,3 In agreement with the Ministry of Agri- weight; oil content, by using a Soxhlet apparatus;7 pulp/pit ratio
(10 fruits/sample).
culture of Lebanon (MoA), it was propagated in order to establish a
national collection of olive germplasm in a specific field gene bank
at the LARI. These trees will then be used as mother plants for the Oil characteristics
production of certified trees for the establishment of new orchards Oil extraction
in Lebanon. For the production of certified trees the mother plants The oil was extracted from three perfectly healthy olive samples
must derive from a unique tree that has been characterised from a per variety (of 1.5–2 kg each). The fruit was harvested manually
morphological, sanitary and molecular point of view. and put in a bag. Only healthy fruit without any kind of infection
All the trees were in commercial groves and were in the mature or physical damage was processed. The oil was extracted within
stage (adult). The tree density was around 200 trees ha−1 . The 24 h from olive harvesting using a small-size Abencor mill, simulat-
groves were rainfed and all the field practices were as normal for ing commercial oil-extraction systems (MC2; Ingenieria Sistemas,
commercial olive groves in Lebanon: the soil was tilled three to Seville, Spain). The olives were crushed with an Abencor hammer
four times per year, manure/ammonium sulfate were spread as mill equipped with a 4-mm sieve and the paste was processed
fertilisers, pruning was biennial and treatments against peacock using the Abencor malaxer (30 min at 25–27 ∘ C) and centrifuged
eye and/or olive fly were carried out if necessary. All the trees in (1372 × g for 2 min). The oil was filtered through a filter plate and
the 2-year period had a medium yield. Fruit samples were har- stored at 4 ∘ C in darkness using amber glass bottles without head
vested within the normal harvesting times (October to Novem- space until analysis. The total polyphenol content was determined
ber) in Lebanon: beginning mid-October for Baladi and Soury, soon after the extraction in sub-samples that were not stored
mid-October for Abou chawkeh, and in the second half of October +4 ∘ C. No water or talc was added to facilitate the extraction.
for Aayrouni and Del. For all the varieties, the olives were harvested
when they had a spotted pigmentation (values between 2 and 3 of Analyses of free fatty acids, peroxide values and spectrophotometric
the ‘Jaen pigmentation index’).6 investigation in the ultraviolet
The analyses of free fatty acids, peroxide values, and spectrophoto-
Fruit characteristics metric parameters were carried out according to the EC Regulation
At harvesting, for each variety, three perfectly healthy olive sam- No 2568/91,8 and subsequent amendments and supplements.
ples were collected manually and used to determine: fruit weight
(15 drupes/sample); pigmentation, evaluated by using the ‘Jaen Colorimetric determination of total polyphenol content
pigmentation index’, from 0 to 7, with 0 for green olives and 7 The total polyphenol content of the oils was determined accord-
for olives with pigmentation on 100% of both the epicarp and ing to the Folin–Ciocalteu method. Briefly, 5 g of olive oil was dis-
the pulp (50 fruits/sample);6 water content, by drying the sam- solved in 2.5 mL of hexane. Total polyphenols were extracted with
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ples used for fresh weight in an oven at 105 ∘ C until constant 5 mL of a methanol/water solution (70:30; v/v) by vortex shaking

J Sci Food Agric 2016; 96: 2532–2538 © 2015 Society of Chemical Industry wileyonlinelibrary.com/jsfa
www.soci.org A Chehade et al.

Table 1. Locations, regions, annual rainfalls, temperatures, latitude, longitude and elevation of the Lebanese olive varieties considered

Rainfall Av. temp. Av. temp. from


(mm year−1 ) of the year*, a (∘ C) Sept to Nov*, b (∘ C)
Latitude, Longitude, Elevation
Variety Region Location 2010 2011 2010 2011 2010 2011 ∘N ∘E (m a.s.l.)

Aayrouni North Amioun 600 775 20 (11–32) 18 (10–30) 23 (15–35) 19 (11–30) 34.299625 35.807951 350
Abou Chawkeh Bekaa Fekehe 300 350 18 (6–38) 16 (4–31) 19 (7–46) 16 (4–30) 34.243610 36.404933 1100
Baladi South Qana 580 632 22 (13–34) 19 (10–29) 23 (15–34) 20 (12–30) 33.208345 35.299257 350
Del Bekaa Bakkifa 727 886 18 (9–31) 15 (7–27) 22 (12–33) 17 (8–29) 33.493316 35.818569 1000
Soury South Ain Baal 580 632 22 (13–34) 19 (10–29) 23 (15–34) 20 (12–30) 33.233353 35.269178 150
a Average values of the average, minimum and maximum temperatures of the year.
b Average values of the average, minimum and maximum temperatures from September to November.
* Minimum and maximum temperatures are those reported between brackets.

for 5 min. Extracts were separated by centrifugation for 10 min. The the relative retention times and chromatograms reported in the
supernatant was collected in another tube and the second extrac- above-mentioned official method.
tion was performed with a methanol/water solution. For each
extract, an aliquot of 200 μL was added to 1 mL distilled water in
Comparison of olive oil characteristics with IOC-TS
spectrophotometric cuvettes, and then 200 μL of Folin–Ciocalteu
reagent was added. The solution was mixed and allowed to equi- Oil characteristics were also evaluated by comparing them with
librate. After 2 min, 1 mL of a 10% (w/v) sodium carbonate solu- the International Olive Council’s (IOC) Trade Standard (TS) for extra
tion was added. The mixture was shaken at 25 ∘ C for 15 min. Then, virgin olive oils (COI/T.15/NC No 3/Rev. 8 February 2015).9
the absorbance was measured at 740 nm using a UV–visible spec-
trophotometer (Helios Alpha, UNICAM UV–visible Spectrometry, Data analysis
Cambridge, UK). Data are expressed as gallic acid equivalents using Data were analysed according to a factorial completely ran-
a gallic acid calibration curve. domised design with the year and variety/locality (Table 1) as
main factors. The year of harvesting did not significantly affect
Fatty acid analysis the characteristics of the fruit and the basic qualitative charac-
The analytical methods to determine the fatty acid composition teristics of the oil (free fatty acids, peroxide value, spectropho-
were carried out according to the EC Regulation No 2568/91 Annex tometer absorbances in ultra-violet, polyphenol content). There
X – A and B and subsequent amendments and supplements. Since were significant interactions (year × variety/locality) for most of
all the olive oils analysed had a free fatty acids content below the fatty acids and sterols. On the basis of statistical analysis results,
1%, the methanol–potassium hydroxide method (method A) was fruit characteristics and basic oil characteristics are reported in the
chosen for fatty acids methyl esters production. Determination of tables as the means of the 2-year period 2010–2011 (six repli-
the fatty acid content was performed by a gas chromatograph cates), whereas the fatty acid composition and sterol content
TRACE GC Ultra (Thermo Scientfic, Walthan, MA, USA) equipped and composition are reported as the means of three replicates
with a capillary column SP-2340 (30 m × 0.25 mm i.d. × 0.20 μm for each variety, and separately for each year (ten combinations,
film thickness; Supelco, Bellefonte, PA, USA) and a flame ionisation year × variety/locality).
detector. Column flow rate was 0.8 mL min−1 using helium as For fruit and basic oil characteristics the means were compared
carrier. Injector and detector temperatures were held at 230 and using the Tukey test.10 For fatty acid composition and sterol
290 ∘ C, respectively. The following oven temperature program content and composition, which presented significant interactions
was used: initial temperature 140 ∘ C held for 1 min; ramped at between the two considered factors (year × variety/locality), the
5 ∘ C min−1 up to 230 ∘ C, held for 5 min. The injection volume was means were compared using orthogonal contrast tests. For all the
1 μL and a split injection mode (1/100 ratio) was used. Fatty acids parameters the standard errors are also reported.
were identified by comparing the retention time of experimental
peaks with those obtained by the injection of the external standard
mixture Me76 (Larodan, Solna, Sweden). RESULTS
The olive samples showed notable differences in most of the fruit
Sterol analysis traits taken into account, which were evaluated according to the
The analyses of sterols were performed according to the official classification proposed by Barranco-Navero et al.11 for the charac-
method of the EC Regulation No 2568/91 Annex V. Sterols were terisation of olive varieties (Table 2). According to this classifica-
determined using a gas chromatograph (Thermo Scientific-TRACE tion, the olive weight was low for Baladi and medium for Aayrouni,
GC Ultra) equipped with a capillary column (Supelco-SPB-5; Abou chawkeh, Del and Soury (Table 2). The Abou chawkeh variety
30 m × 0.25 mm i.d. × 0.25 μm film thickness), a split injector (1/75 had the highest fruit weight. Abou chawkeh also had the highest
ratio) and flame ionisation detector. The analyses were performed pulp/pit ratio, while the other varieties had similar, medium–low,
using helium as carrier gas at a constant flow of 1 mL min−1 . values (Table 2). The much higher water content in the fruits
Injector and detector temperatures were held at 300 ∘ C. The oven of Abou chawkeh may have contributed to their highest weight
temperature program was isothermal at 265 ∘ C. The injection and pulp/pit ratio. The oil content was medium for Baladi, Del
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volume was 1 μL. The identifications were performed by using and Abou chawkeh, high for Soury and very high for Aayrouni

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Table 2. Characteristics of the fruit of the Lebanese olive varieties

Pigmentation Pulp/pit Oil content Oil content Water content


Variety Fresh weight (g) index (0–7) ratio (% FW) (% DW) (% FW)

Aayrouni 2.6 ± 0.2b 2.7 ± 0.5a 3.0 ± 0.3bc 36.4 ± 2.0a 56.2 ± 2.9a 35.2 ± 1.9c
Abou chawkeh 3.8 ± 0.4a 2.9 ± 0.3a 4.4 ± 0.3a 17.8 ± 0.3d 43.5 ± 1.5c 59.2 ± 1.2a
Baladi 1.7 ± 0.2c 3.0 ± 0.3a 2.6 ± 0.2c 28.0 ± 1.0bc 42.5 ± 1.8c 34.0 ± 2.2c
Del 2.5 ± 0.3b 2.5 ± 0.2a 2.6 ± 0.2c 26.3 ± 0.7c 44.1 ± 1.1c 40.3 ± 1.5b
Soury 2.7 ± 0.5b 2.8 ± 0.6a 3.5 ± 0.5b 31.8 ± 3.5b 51.0 ± 1.8b 37.0 ± 4.1bc

Data are presented as average values of the 2-year period 2010–2011 ± standard error (N = 6).
In each column, means followed by different letters are significantly different for P ≤ 0.05.
DW, dry weight; FW, fresh weight.

Table 3. Free fatty acids, peroxide value, spectrophotometer absorbances in the ultra-violet (K 232 , K 270 , ΔK) and polyphenol content of oils from the
Lebanese olive varieties

Peroxide value Total polyphenols


Variety Free acidity (%) (meq O2 kg−1 oil) K 232 K 270 ΔK (mg kg−1 oil)

Aayrouni 0.31 ± 0.01ab 9.0 ± 0.4a 1.75 ± 0.04b 0.15 ± 0.02ab 0.002 ± 0.000b 224 ± 27b
Abou chawkeh 0.24 ± 0.02b 6.0 ± 0.7b 1.98 ± 0.15a 0.18 ± 0.04a 0.006 ± 0.003a 283 ± 17b
Baladi 0.40 ± 0.05a 6.0 ± 0.4b 1.80 ± 0.06ab 0.17 ± 0.01ab 0.002 ± 0.000b 208 ± 41c
Del 0.27 ± 0.03b 7.3 ± 0.5b 1.96 ± 0.04ab 0.14 ± 0.04b 0.005 ± 0.000ab 430 ± 61a
Soury 0.33 ± 0.03ab 7.0 ± 0.6b 1.81 ± 0.02ab 0.18 ± 0.00a 0.003 ± 0.000ab 394 ± 13a
IOC-TS ≤0.80 ≤20.0 ≤2.50 ≤0.22 ≤0.01 –

Data are presented as average values of the 2-year period 2010–2011 ± standard error (N = 6).
In each column, means followed by different letters are significantly different for P ≤ 0.05.
The IOC Trade Standard (TS) values for extra virgin olive oils are reported in the last row.

(Table 2). The pigmentation index ranged from 2.5 and 3.0, show- IOC Trade Standard, and linolenic acid of Abou chawkeh was very
ing a similar pigmentation level for all the varieties. This was due close to the limit.
to the fact that the olive samples were collected when the olives The average values of the total sterol content were higher than
were in the spotted stage of ripening (Table 2). The year did the prescribed lower limit in the oils of all the varieties and ranged
not significantly affect the fruit parameters taken into considera- from 1158 to 2183 mg kg−1 (Table 5). The sterol content and
tion (data not shown) and there were no significant interactions composition differed among the varieties and the 2 years with
(year × variety/locality). significant interaction effects (year × variety/locality) (Table 5).
The percentage of the free fatty acids and peroxide values of the Also the erythrodiol + uvaol content differed among the vari-
oils were within the limits of the IOC Trade Standard for all the eties/localities (Table 5). In the oils of all varieties/localities the
varieties, ranging from 0.23 to 0.40% and from 6 to 9 meq O2 kg−1 amounts of cholesterol, brassicasterol, campesterol, stigmasterol,
of oil, respectively (Table 3). The spectrophotometric absorbances Δ-7-stigmastenol and erythrodiol + uvaol were lower than the
in the ultra-violet of the oils of all the accessions were within the maximum allowed by the IOC Trade Standard, with the exception
IOC Trade Standard (Table 3). Again, the year did not significantly in 2011 of Soury, which had slightly higher values, and Baladi,
affect these oil parameters (data not shown) and there were no which had much higher contents of Δ-7-stigmastenol. Moreover,
significant interaction (year × variety/locality). Del and Soury had in all the oils, apparent 𝛽-sitosterol (i.e. Δ-5-23-stigmastadienol +
the highest amounts of total polyphenols (Table 3). clerosterol + 𝛽-sitosterol + sitostanol + Δ-5-avenasterol + Δ-5-24-
The fatty acid composition differed among the varieties and stigmastadienol) was higher than the minimum allowed by the
the two years, showing significant year × variety/locality interac- IOC Trade Standard.
tions (Table 4). Abou chawkeh and Del had an oleic acid content
between 68 and 76%, Aayrouni and Soury had values of 67–69%,
whereas Baladi had about 62–66% (Table 4). In 2011 the oils of DISCUSSION
all the varieties/localities had higher contents of oleic acid than The fruit fresh weights of Soury, Del and Abou chawkeh were
in 2010. The higher values of oleic acid in 2011 were associated substantially similar to values reported in the literature for the
with corresponding lower values of linoleic acid and, in some cases, same varieties.2 All the genotypes were deemed suitable for the
palmitic acid. Basically, all the varieties had a fatty acid composition production of oil, since, according to the classification proposed by
which met the requirements of the IOC Trade Standard for extra Barranco-Navero et al.11 for the characterisation of olive varieties,
virgin olive oils; in very few cases and only in 2010, the values of the oil content was between medium and high, with Aayrouni
stearic and arachidic acids fluctuated around the maximum values having extremely high values. The highest fruit pulp/pit ratio
allowed (Table 4). Indeed, stearic acid of Aayrouni, and arachidic measured in the variety Abou chawkeh confirmed that this variety
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acid of Aayrouni and Soury were slightly above the limits of the is the best for table olive production.

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www.soci.org A Chehade et al.

Table 4. Fatty acid composition (%) of oils of the Lebanese olive varieties in the two considered years (interaction year × variety/locality – Table 1)

Palmitic Palmitoleic Stearic


Variety 2010 2011 2010 2011 2010 2011

Aayrouni 12.98 ± 0.6b 14.95 ± 1.5ab 0.49 ± 0.0de 0.75 ± 0.1bc 5.14 ± 0.2a 3.85 ± 0.2c
Abou chawkeh 13.08 ± 0.2b 11.60 ± 0.9c 1.01 ± 0.0ab 0.80 ± 0.0bc 2.13 ± 0.2d 2.17 ± 0.1d
Baladi 13.46 ± 0.5b 15.95 ± 0.1a 0.41 ± 0.0de 1.05 ± 0.0a 4.71 ± 0.2b 3.80 ± 0.0c
Del 12.98 ± 0.2b 10.60 ± 0.1d 0.52 ± 0.0de 0.50 ± 0.0de 2.69 ± 0.2d 2.86 ± 0.0d
Soury 12.41 ± 0.3c 13.55 ± 0.8b 0.32 ± 0.3e 0.60 ± 0.0cd 4.50 ± 0.2b 4.15 ± 0.1bc
IOC-TS ≥7.50 ≤20.00 ≥0.30 ≤3.50 ≥0.50 ≤5.00

Oleic Linoleic Linolenic Arachidic


2010 2011 2010 2011 2010 2011 2010 2011

Aayrouni 66.60 ± 1.1b 68.90 ± 1.0b 12.37 ± 0.5c 9.90 ± 0.1e 0.70 ± 0.08c 0.70 ± 0.00c 0.64 ± 0.05ab 0.45 ± 0.05c
Abou chawkeh 67.68 ± 1.1b 76.46 ± 1.3a 13.71 ± 0.7b 7.06 ± 0.4f 0.97 ± 0.01a 0.90 ± 0.00ab 0.33 ± 0.03e 0.30 ± 0.00e
Baladi 62.44 ± 0.8c 65.95 ± 0.4b 16.39 ± 0.3a 11.30 ± 0.2d 0.89 ± 0.04ab 0.80 ± 0.00bc 0.55 ± 0.09bc 0.50 ± 0.00cd
Del 67.85 ± 0.3b 74.86 ± 0.5a 13.69 ± 0.3b 9.20 ± 0.5e 0.92 ± 0.04a 0.86 ± 0.03ab 0.39 ± 0.05de 0.40 ± 0.00de
Soury 67.28 ± 0.9b 67.55 ± 0.3b 13.18 ± 0.3b 12.25 ± 0.9c 0.71 ± 0.03c 0.75 ± 0.05c 0.66 ± 0.01a 0.50 ± 0.00cd
IOC-TS ≥55.00 ≤83.00 ≥2.50 ≤21.00 ≤1.00 ≤0.60
Data are presented as average values ± standard error (N = 3).
For each fatty acid, means followed by different letters are significantly different (P ≤ 0.05) by orthogonal contrasts. The IOC Trade Standard (TS) values
for extra virgin olive oils are reported in the last row.

Table 5. Sterol composition and content and erytrodiol + uvaol content in the oils of the considered Lebanese olive varieties in the two considered
years (interaction year × variety/locality – Table 1)

Cholesterol (%) Brassicasterol (%) Campesterol (%) Stigmasterol (%)


Variety 2010 2011 2010 2011 2010 2011 2010 2011

Aayrouni 0.02 ± 0.001c 0.12 ± 0.009a 0.08 ± 0.002ab 0.03 ± 0.009de 1.99 ± 0.017c 2.22 ± 0.000bc 0.55 ± 0.011c 0.62 ± 0.044b
Abou chawkeh 0.09 ± 0.005b 0.15 ± 0.054a 0.07 ± 0.002b 0.03 ± 0.011de 2.12 ± 0.017c 1.85 ± 0.104d 0.65 ± 0.017b 0.29 ± 0.040e
Baladi 0.07 ± 0.005b 0.15 ± 0.024a 0.03 ± 0.011de 0.02 ± 0.004e 2.14 ± 0.011c 2.14 ± 0.014c 0.54 ± 0.011c 0.46 ± 0.095d
Del 0.09 ± 0.002ab 0.08 ± 0.005b 0.06 ± 0.005bc 0.04 ± 0.017cd 2.50 ± 0.041b 2.64 ± 0.017b 0.44 ± 0.023d 0.36 ± 0.040ef
Soury 0.08 ± 0.005b 0.07 ± 0.009b 0.09 ± 0.002a 0.02 ± 0.009d 1.83 ± 0.002a 2.02 ± 0.024d 0.65 ± 0.060a 0.60 ± 0.109b
IOC-TS ≤0.5 ≤0.1 ≤4.0 < Campesterol

Erythrodiol + uvaol
Apparent 𝛽-sitosterol (%) Δ7-Stigmastenol (%) Total sterols (mg kg−1 oil) (% total sterols)
2010 2011 2010 2011 2010 2011 2011

Aayrouni 93.99 ± 0.190d 95.53 ± 0.220b 0.43 ± 0.017cd 0.39 ± 0.090e 1999 ± 57b 1169 ± 47e 1.91 ± 0.27b
Abou chawkeh 95.60 ± 0.098b 96.74 ± 0.156a 0.46 ± 0.005c 0.17 ± 0.023f 1444 ± 31d 1898 ± 134c 1.03 ± 0.16c
Baladi 94.80 ± 0.075c 94.40 ± 0.106c 0.45 ± 0.011c 1.34 ± 0.009a 1731 ± 19c 1643 ± 32c 1.33 ± 0.38c
Del 94.30 ± 0.080c 95.31 ± 0.200b 0.47 ± 0.017c 0.42 ± 0.002cd 2183 ± 63a 1973 ± 62b 2.50 ± 0.13a
Soury 94.80 ± 0.130c 95.67 ± 0.007b 0.49 ± 0.014c 0.57 ± 0.014b 1613 ± 29d 1158 ± 15e 1.01 ± 0.68c
IOC-TS ≥93.0 ≤0.5 ≥1000 ≤4.5
Data are presented as average values ± standard error (N = 3).
For each compound, means followed by different letters are significantly different (P ≤ 0.05) by orthogonal contrasts.
The IOC Trade Standard (TS) values for extra virgin olive oils are reported in the last row.

As far as oil characteristics are concerned, the polyphenol con- in oils of all the varieties in 2010 might also be due to the rela-
tent varied among the different oils (Table 3). The influence of tively high temperatures in the south of Lebanon with respect to
variety on the content of polyphenols in the oil has been clearly the other locations and in 2010 with respect to 2011 (Table 1).
established.12 – 14 Therefore, this factor may have greatly con- High temperatures are known to reduce oleic acid and increase
tributed to the differences. Also the fatty acid composition var- linoleic and/or palmitic acids.6,17,20,21 It is known that the response
ied among the different oils (Table 4). This was most likely due to temperature is not the same in the different varieties,17 and this
to the cultivar, which is known to be a very important factor in can explain the highest changes showed by Abou chawkeh and
determining the fatty acid composition.13 – 19 Moreover, the low- Del with respect to the other varieties; in the case of Del, it is also
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est oleic acid content found in the oil of Baladi in both years and important to note that the area in which it is cultivated showed

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Characteristics of the main Lebanese olive germplasm www.soci.org

the greatest differences in temperature between 2010 and 2011 this will give the possibility of completing their characterisation, by
(Table 1). evaluating them also in homogenous agro-environmental condi-
The sterol composition and content differed among the oils, tions, and of using them as mother trees for the propagation of
with interaction effects between the year and variety/locality certified plants for the establishment of new orchards in Lebanon.
(Table 5). Also the erytrodiol and uvaol contents were differ-
ent in the various oils. It is known that sterols are greatly culti-
var dependent.19,22 – 26 Moreover, their contents are also affected ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
by the agro-environmental conditions.27 – 30 Therefore, the differ- The present study is related to the activities of the Italian coop-
ences among the various oils can be due to the combined effects eration project ‘Social and economic support for the families of
of cultivar and agro-environmental conditions. The latter could producers in the olive-growing marginal regions of Lebanon
also include the changes in environmental conditions due to dif- (L’Olio del Libano)’, funded by the Italian government and
ferent seasonal patterns in diverse years. Soury and, especially, implemented by the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of
Baladi, in 2011 had Δ-7-stigmastenol values higher than 0.5%, Bari (CIHEAM-MAI.B), with the Ministry of Agriculture of Lebanon
which is the maximum value allowed by the IOC Trade Standard. (MoA) and the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI).
However, considering the Annex 1 of the IOC Trade Standard,9 Some of the data were re-elaborated from an extensive study
the value of Soury was ≤0.80 and some of the other parameters aimed at characterising the morphological, phenological, agro-
indicated in the Annex were respected (campesterol ≤ 3.3; appar- nomical and oil traits of the main Lebanese olive germplasm.1
ent 𝛽-sitosterol/(campesterol + Δ-7-stigmastenol) ≥ 25; stigmas- Such a study is the product of a cooperation project and so it is not
terol ≤ 1.4%). This makes it likely that the oil could be considered available in international data banks. Special thanks are given to I.
acceptable for the trade.9 The value of Δ-7-stigmastenol is used Cavoski, A. Aly, L. Piscitelli, G. Bruno, F. Caponio and G. Gambacorta
as an indicator of oil purity, because higher amounts than those for the collaboration in olive oil analyses.
established by the IOC as Trade Standard can indicate adulteration
(mixtures with other vegetable oils) or contamination of the oils,31
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