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Keywords:

  • Oxidative stability;
  • virgin olive oil;
  • ultrasound;
  • automation

Abstract

A fast and automated method is proposed for determining the oxidative stability of virgin olive oil by using ultrasound. The ultrasound microprobe (3 mm in diameter) was directly immersed into the olive oil sample contained in a test tube. The most influential variables in the oxidation process, namely pulse amplitude, duty cycle, irradiation time, and sample amount, were optimized. The oil absorbance at 270 nm was continuously monitored by oil recirculation through a 0.1-mm path length flow cell connected to a fiber optic microspectrometer. This short path length allowed the direct monitoring of absorbance without needing any sample dilution. The ultrasound energy was applied during 35 min, and the resulting increase in absorbance was continuously monitored. The difference between the final and the initial absorbance at 270 nm of a set of virgin olive oil samples was closely correlated with their oxidative stability calculated by the Rancimat method (R2 = 0.9915). The resulting equation enabled the prediction of the oxidative stability of virgin olive oil in a short period of time (35 min), by using a simple, inexpensive, automatic and easy-to-use system.