The olive (Olea europaea) is one of the most important crops in the Mediterranean region for economic and culinary reasons. Cuticular waxes coat olives and olive leaves and play a significant role in plant physiology and resistance against environmental stresses. The present study describes n-alkane profiles in cuticular waxes of olives and leaves of three Italian varieties (Frantoio, Leccino and Maraiolo) during different stages of olive development. Additionally, the study investigates the differences between n-alkane profiles of extra virgin olive oils with low and high leaf content. Olive leaves are characterised by the predominance of n-alkanes with longer carbon chains (n-C29-C33) compared with olives (n-C25-C29). During all stages of olive ripening period, n-alkane average chain length (ACL) values of olive leaves are significantly higher compared with those of olives. Extra virgin olive oils with admixture of leaves have significantly different n-alkane profiles than those free from leaf material. Practical applications: The results of this study will contribute significantly to the currently very limited information on n-alkane data from olive tree varieties used for oil production. The presence of leaves increases the concentrations of long chain n-alkanes (n-C31-C35) in extra virgin olive oils, therefore studying the differences between n-alkane profiles of olives and olive leaves could help establishing the presence of leaf material in produced extra virgin olive oils. Information about the relative and absolute concentrations of n-alkanes in olives, olive leaves and olive oil will also be useful for biochemical and metabolic studies of the olive tree.
- Olive leaf content
- Virgin olive oil