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The Commitment to the Molecular Process for the Traceability of Olive Oil

The Commitment to the Molecular Process for the Traceability of Olive Oil

2018/07/05 - An article by Dr. Rayda Ben Ayed, published in Jus d'Olive, reveals the advances of her research work to develop an unprecedented process through which the DNA present in olive oil samples can be decoded and, therefore, reveal its origin. The results obtained will allow to provide a genetic identity to the product with precision, speed and low cost.
The research of Ben Ayed (DNA Markers for a better traceability of olive oils - Editions Universitaires Européennes) concludes that olive oil will be granted and added economic value through the application of this labeling for its authentication.

According to the doctor, the particularity of these analyzes aims to constitute a strong valuation argument for the industrialist or the producer, regardless of the size of his company. In the near future, these analyzes -highlights the doctor- will occupy a strategic place in commerce, increase the income of companies, improve access to the global competitive environment and gain new markets.

The Doctor in Biological Sciences of the Faculty of Sciences of Sfax (Tunisia) pleads for the transcendental importance of the trazabilidad in foods in general and, in particular, in a product like olive oil, that due to its dietetic and nutritional benefits, experiencing a growing increase in its consumption worldwide.

Ben Ayued believes that to preserve the quality of olive oil and its commercial value, it is essential to protect and improve it through a labeling process that guarantees traceability and authenticity. In this way, the label should allow the precise identification of the geographical and varietal origin, as well as the qualitative and organoleptic characterization of the product.

Several techniques based on the analysis and composition of olive oil, such as Ggas Chromatography (GC) and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), have been widely applied worldwide to study the authenticity and varietal origin of olive oils. However, some find it difficult to distinguish varieties of olive oil because their characteristics are greatly influenced by environmental conditions. In addition, the quality of olive oil is the result of several factors (variety, cultivation techniques, climate, soil, ripening stage, extraction technology, etc.).

Therefore, although these organoleptic and physical-chemical analyzes are necessary, they have several limitations and disadvantages. "They are often inaccurate, unreliable and sometimes offer approximate and insufficient results to allow the traceability of the oil," says the author.

In the area of ​​authenticity and traceability of food, the use of DNA-based technology responds to the needs of consumers. According to the doctor, these techniques are essential to study the traceability of olive oil.

In particular, the development of the molecular DNA label will initially allow better authentication and a more secure characterization of the added value, but above all more confidence for the olive oil sector, through the differentiation of products through original and innovative scientific techniques.

In general, the traceability of olive oils is achieved through organoleptic and physical-chemical analysis (fatty acids, polyphenols, sterols, etc.) . Hence, the use of analysis based on DNA molecules in olive oil becomes an innovative approach that is independent of environmental conditions. This purely molecular approach has successfully overcome the problem of the traceability of monovarietal and multivarietal oils and complements the contribution of biochemical and organoleptic characteristics for the characterization and traceability of olive oils.
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