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Chemical Parameters

Hereafter are the main chemical parameters useful to determine the quality of an extra virgin olive oil.

 

Acidity: The limit of acidity for extra virgin olive oil is equal to 0,8%.
The acidity is formed as a result of the degradation of the cellular structure of the fruit, when the oil, which is normally contained in the vacuole, gets in contact with cellular enzymes (lipases) and releases fatty acids from triglycerides. A very low acidity is a signal of a correct supply chain; It is necessary condition to demonstrate a high level of quality of the oil.

 

Peroxides: According to the current legislation the maximum limit for the number of peroxides is 20, above which the oil is “lampante”. A good value is below 10-12.

The peroxide number indicates the degree of primary oil oxidation, it indicates its tendency to go rancid.

 

Total polyphenols: It is a very important indicator of the quality of the oil, both from an organoleptic point of view, since the polyphenols give the oil its bitter and spicy taste, and healthy, as natural antioxidants they protect both the oil and  cells of the human body from oxidation. The higher is the concentration of polyphenols in olive oil, the better are its organoleptic qualities.

 

Spectrophotometric constants (K232-K270-Delta K):

The determination of K232; K270 and Delta K is realized with the spectrophotometer in the laboratory through reading the absorptions at 232 and 270 nm.

The limits for an extra virgin olive oil are 2,5 for K232, 0,2 for K270 and 0,01 for the Delta K.

Spectrophotometric analysis highlights refining processes or oxidation and ageing of the oil. An increase of K232 highlights a primary oxidation with formation of peroxides, while an increase of K270 highlights secondary oxidation, with formation of aldehydes and ketones.