Jan. 30, 2019 – Olives are staples of the Mediterranean diet, which has been linked to a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions. However, freshly picked olives are very bitter and require curing or processing to make them palatable, using lots of water and, sometimes, harsh chemicals. Now, researchers have found a more environmentally friendly way to remove bitter phenolic compounds from olives. They report their results in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The bitter taste of phenolic compounds such as oleuropein and ligstroside may help protect olives from herbivores and pathogens. To make olives edible, commercial processors typically destroy these compounds by soaking the fruit in a dilute lye solution, followed by washing several times. However, this process consumes large amounts of water and produces toxic wastewater. Alyson Mitchell and Rebecca Johnson wanted to develop a more environmentally sustainable method to remove the phenolic compounds from olives.
The researchers evaluated four different types of Amberlite
The authors acknowledge funding from the John Kinsella Endowment in Food and Nutrition.
The abstract that accompanies this study is available here.
The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.