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Keywords:

  • Cloudy olive oil;
  • veiled;
  • proteins;
  • phospholipids;
  • stability

Abstract

Extra virgin olive oil is produced in the form of a “suspension–dispersion” which can persist for several months before full deposition of a residue. Many consumers and chefs prefer unfiltered raw olive oil because it looks thicker and richer in flavors. The nature of the material in the suspension–dispersion is poorly described. The presence of proteins has been connected with the appearance of the “veiled” oil and also with its oxidative stability, although there are discrepancies in the literature with regard to their levels. The level of phosphorus, a measure of phospholipids, is also poorly studied. This work aims at quantifying proteins and phospholipids in cloudy olive oil. For the analysis of proteins, a practical method is used that can be applied for routine analysis. The proteins are precipitated with acetone and determined colorimetrically using the Bradford method suitably modified to measure protein dye-binding at low concentrations. Twenty three virgin and one refined olive oil samples from different places in Greece were all found to have protein levels below 2.5 mg/kg. In most of the samples, values were lower after filtration of the cloudy oils. In the refined oil samples, protein was hardly determined (value ≤0.1 mg/kg). Phosphorus levels ranged from 0.8 to 4.8 mg/kg. These correspond to approximately 21–124 mg/kg of phospholipids. The results are discussed in relation to the oxidative and physicochemical stability of the veiled oils.