Smart caps to warn of the deterioration of an EVOO

Smart caps to warn of the deterioration of an EVOO

2018/16/02 - Francisco Alcántara Muñoz, Manager of Aceites Mondrón-Cooperativa de San José Artesano, has won the 10th Business Ideas Competition of the Vice Rectorate for Innovation, Transfer and Excellence Campus of the University of Cordoba (UCO) with an innovative intelligent cap for bottles of EVOO able to detect if the oil has lost the characteristics that distinguish it as extra virgin.
The main objective of this contest is the promotion of entrepreneurial culture and the transfer of knowledge, providing entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to develop innovative business ideas that directly contribute to the generation of employment and territorial development.

Francisco Alcántara explains to Mercacei that "this is a business idea derived from my knowledge acquired in the final project of the UOC's Master in Agri-food and the completion of the doctorate in the Ifapa of Córdoba and Mengíbar, which is still pending development the product".

"It would be a question of designing an intelligent cap that has a reactive sheet that, when coming into contact with the target molecules in the head space of a damaged oil, would cause a colorimetric reaction and would manifest a change of color when it misses the sensorial characteristics that define an EVOO. In this way, the consumer, before acquiring the bottle of extra virgin, will be able to warn by the color of the cap sheet if the oil is in the right conditions or, on the contrary, if it is deteriorated, so it would mean we are paying for an EVOO a price that's not right."

According to Alcántara, "in the last three years, the EVOO consumer, especially in North America, demands security regarding the sensory quality of the oil for which he is paying. Every year there are news from the consumer associations about frauds regarding the quality of EVOO. This is due, except in the residual cases in which a deliberate fraud of chemical purity is carried out, to the deterioration of the EVOO by oxidation reactions due to its the packaging until the moment in which it is acquired by the consumer, originating the appearance of flavors that are defective and so, losing the EVOO category."

"When an EVOO is packaged -he continues-, oxidation reactions on unsaturated Fatty Acids (FA) are favored especially by the presence of light, high temperature and air (presence of oxygen). During the deterioration process, volatile compounds are produced and the concentration of certain molecules increases very significantly; these are target molecules to monitor the progress of the deteriorating state of an oil."

"The consumer demands guarantees about the quality of the EVOO that he acquires, as it happens with other products; that is, that the extra virgin that you buy is really EVOO, an oil with fruity aromas (ripe or green) and without sensory defects," he concludes.
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