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The Sacmi-made ‘electronic nose’ for olive oil

SACMI’s electronic olfactory system used to measure oxidative state of virgin olive oil

Bologna University’s Department of Food Science (A. Bendini, L. Cerretani) has successfully tested the SACMI “EOS AROMA” electronic olfactory system as a means of evaluating the sensorial properties of virgin olive oil as a fast, low-cost alternative to traditional analysis methods. More specifically, the study examined the state of oxidation of the olive oil (rancidification), a parameter directly correlated with aging of the product.

The instrument was first ‘trained’ on known samples: extra virgin olive oil and the same oil deprived of its phenolic compounds (antioxidants) at different degrees of oxidation.

Finally, 23 oils (10 virgin olive oils of different origins and 13 with varying levels of rancidification) were used as unidentified samples to assess the instrument’s reliability. The system correctly classified all the samples in perfect accordance with the assessments made by professional tasters!

The method demonstrated itself as fast and economical (no sample preparation is needed) and the instrument proved to be suitable for the preliminary screening of oils to be analysed by professionals, especially in corporate scenarios where the high number of samples evaluated daily could tire the tasting team. Moreover, the instrument could be used to assess product shelf-life: the rancid taste is, in fact, the only defect that can occur over time.

This result demonstrates Sacmi’s clear contribution to the food industry and also highlights just how much Sacmi, with its R&D centre, is active in all fields of application and just how renowned it is for product performance.

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