Chemical features
of the olive oil

Dr. Francisco Meriani


The olive oil is made of:

Esters of glycerol with fatty acids (98 - 99,5%)
These acids are:
  • oleic acid (65 - 80%)
    CH3-(CH2)7-CH=CH-(CH2)7- COOH
    it stimulates digestive juices' secrection: this is why the olive oil is so easy to digest.
  • palmitic acid (9 - 15%)
    CH3-(CH2)14- COOH
  • linoleic acid (6 - 15%)
    useful for tissues' growth and skin's health
  • stearic acid (1.5 - 3%)
    CH3-(CH2)16- COOH
  • linolenic acid (traces)
    * CH3* (CH2* CH=*CH) 3* (CH2) 7* COOH
Other molecules (0.5 - 2%)
  • saturated hydrocarbons (C1022H - C35H72)
  • unsaturated hydrocarbons (Squalene) C30
  • waxes (alcohols from C16 to C36)
  • Free or esterificated steroids (fitosterol, beta-sitosterol)
  • aliphatic alcohols (C16 - C30)
  • terpenic alcohols
    • lipid-soluble vitamins:
    • A, carotene
    • D, from steroids: colecalciferolo, ergocalciferolo)
    • E , it has an anti-oxidant effect: inhibits oxidation and peroxidation interacting with oxygen and free-radicals. Promotes the use of the Vitamin A and eme's synthesis. It is used as a coadiuvant in atherosclerosis and sterility, and has antiabortifacient properties. The lack of this Vitamin causes embrittlement of red globules and neurological problems.
    • K
  • Pigments:
    • carotenoids
    • chlorophylls, that have with anti-oxidant functions in sinergy with vitamins
    • Polifenols:
      • flavonoids
      • phenolic acids
      • tocoferols
      • phospholipides
      • aldehydes
      • other volatile molecules
The olive oil should not contain neither sterols (their presence proves the sophistication with seed oil) nor cholesterol (its presence is due to Bactrocera oleae's eggs).
The analysis of molecules contained inside the olive oil can detect sophistications or infections. Some analitical methods are briefly described here.

Dr. Francesco Meriani


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