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Olive and Olive Oil Chain

The Thematic Line Olive and Olive Oil Chain uses mathematical models to address issues related to the improvement of yield and quality of olives and olive oil, while reducing environmental impacts of cultivation and olive oil production.

Our challenges are:

  • To improve quality of olives and olive oil;
  • To relate olive cultivar, climate and maturation index to the content of oleic acid and other unsaturated fatty acids, liposoluble vitamins (A, E, D, K) and polyphenols which are likely to have positive health effects;
  • To minimize environmental impacts of the crop and process of oil extraction;
  • To predict impacts of global changes;
  • To transfer the knowledge generated.

In addition, added-value functional lipids will be enzymatically produced from olive oil.

Environmental impacts of activities related to intensive olive cultivation (fertilizers, water, pesticides and machinery) and olive oil production (e.g., olive mill wastewater) are still a serious concern. Researchers of this thematic line are developing an integrated strategic approach to minimize and/or solve these issues, aiming to deliver a manual of good practices for the cultivation and processing of olives.

Global changes have impacts on flowering occurrence and quality, fruit growth and oil accumulation rate, and olive oil quality. We propose to go on studying the underlying relations and to improve the existing models.
Knowledge transfer to stakeholders is proposed by developing a prototype platform to assist the farmers in their management decisions, both short and long term. A module dealing with economical scenario analysis will also be included. This decision support system should be implemented through the internet and partly supported by the stakeholders.

Jose Paulo Abreu

Thematic Line Coordinator

José Paulo Mourão de Melo e Abreu
Associate Professor