The malaxation step, one of the most important phases of the virgin olive oil (VOO) mechanical extraction process involved in the development of the main quality characteristics of the final product, was carried out at a low temperature (18◦ C). The rapid control of malaxer temperature was handled with the same chiller as that of the heat exchanger used in a semi-industrial extraction plant. Low temperature was used during the full olive paste kneading process and also for half of this process, which showed that there was a significant impact on the phenolic and volatile contents of VOO. Trials were conducted on three different cultivars (Canino, Moraiolo and Peranzana), and their phenolic and volatile concentrations showed different quantitative and qualitative effects due to the prolonged use of low temperature after the crushing phase, as a function of the different genetic origins of the olives. The process of phenolic compound solubilization into the oily phase was negatively influenced by the use of low temperature during the entire malaxation period for all the cultivars, whereas the volatile fraction showed an improvement in VOO flavor mainly due to the oil extracted from Canino olives.
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