MedOOmics, Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil Omics: profiling and fingerprinting

Cofinanciado por:
Acronym | MedOOmics
Project title | MedOOmics, Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil Omics: profiling and fingerprinting
Project Code | ARIMNET2/0001/2015
Main objective |

Region of intervention |

Beneficiary entity |
  • Universidade de Évora(líder)
  • Adana Science and Technology University(parceiro)
  • Aix-Marseille Universite(parceiro)
  • Institut Superieur de Biotechnologie de Sfax(parceiro)
  • Universidade Nova de Lisboa(parceiro)

Approval date | 31-08-2016
Start date | 01-09-2016
Date of the conclusion | 31-12-2019

Total eligible cost |
European Union financial support |
National/regional public financial support |


MedOOmics, Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil Omics: profiling and fingerprinting, is a metabolomic study on Olive Oils from the most important varieties from four different countries, Portugal, as coordinator, France, Turkey and Tunisia. MedOOmics activities will span 8 Working Packages, involving research teams with complementary competences and differentiated skills.

The metabolomic study will comprise a "profiling" and a "fingerprinting" approaches. It will focus on the study of the phenolic composition of olive oils achieved by liquid chromatography, volatile composition of olive oils using 1D and 2D gas chromatography, both coupled with mass spectrometry and fatty acids composition using FID detection, the study of mineral elements using ICP-MS techniques, the study of stable isotopes (SIRMS) and the establishment of recognize patterns, using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), infrared and raman spectroscopy techniques, providing a spectral signature of the different olive oils under study. Data obtained will be subjected to a chemometric study in order to retrieve as much information as possible. Results obtained can be further used to build a database on olive oils and contribute to ensure the olive oils authenticity.

The authenticity of extra virgin olive oils, considering geographic and varietal aspect, is the main goal of this proposal and is based on a metabolomic approach. As a secondary goal of this proposal, it will also be evaluated the genuineness of the product (in a context of adulteration), to yield a useful tool for screening for fraud and for the olive oil certification. The Geographical Indication of Origin (IGP) and the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) refers to oils originating from a defined geographical area with particular soil and climate and are also made with olives of certain varieties of olive trees. The first definition is broader than the latter. It is mandatory to have tools that allow the control of at least two variables: the varietie(s) of olive(s) giving rise to the oil and its (their) geographical origin.

Attending to the global market, there are growing concerns over food authentication, safety and quality. Thereby, some specific themes within authenticity issues, such as the geographical origin or varietal origin are considered as hot research topics. Moreover, owing to the multidisciplinary character of these issues the development of analytical tools that enable to full address these questions must includes a more comprehensive approach based on analytical fingerprinting and profiling. MedOmics project aims to implement a methodological approach based on the use of different analytical techniques having the capability of detecting changes in metabolites in olive oil samples from different origin and/or different varieties. This project could provide an overview of the metabolic status and global biochemical events associated with the varietal or geographical origin of olive oils.

Objectives, activities and expected/achieved results

The main goal of this proposal is to contribute to highlight issues such as quality certification, authentication, geographical and varietal traceability of EVOOs, in order to guarantee the quality of olive oils produced in the Mediterranean basin. Hence, the present proposal fits the scientific scope of this ARIMNET call enabling to assess the standard quality of Mediterranean EVOOs, that are considered as one of the major components of the Mediterranean Diet nominated recently as World's Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.

The objectives of this proposal can be summarized as:

a) A full characterization of varietal EVOOs from Portugal, France, Turkey and Tunisie, targeting some less studied and typical varieties of each country, with different characteristics from the varieties used in Italy, Spain or Greece.

b) Establish tools that enable to ascertain the geographical origin of EVOOs, that can be further used for Geographical Indication of Origin (IGP) and Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) certification.

c) Establish chemical markers to be used for EVOOs authenticity.

d) Transfer of some methodologies developed within this proposal to industries.