Abstract: Four commercial varieties of oregano are farmed in Argentina: “Compacto,”“Cordobes,”“Criollo,” y “Mendocino.” Oregano essential oil is known for antioxidant properties. The objective of this study was to evaluate changes in the intensities of positive and negative attributes in extra virgin olive oil with addition of essential oil obtained from the 4 Argentinean oregano types. Oregano essential oil was added into olive oil at 0.05% w/w. The samples were stored in darkness and light exposure during 126 d at room temperature. The intensity ratings of fruity, pungency, bitterness, oregano flavor, and rancid flavor were evaluated every 21 d by a trained sensory panel. In general, samples with addition of oregano essential oil in olive oil exhibited higher and lower intensity ratings of positive and negative attributes, respectively, during storage compared with the control samples. The first 2 principal components explained 72.3% of the variability in the olive oil samples. In general, positive attributes of olive oil were highly associated with the addition of oregano essential oil in darkness, whereas rancid flavor was negatively associated with them. Olive oil with oregano “Cordobes” essential oil was oppositely associated with light exposure treatments and negative attribute (rancid flavor) suggesting better performance as natural antioxidant of this essential oil in olive oil. The result of this study showed that the presence of oregano essential oil, specially “Cordobes” type, preserve sensory quality of extra virgin olive oil prolonging the shelf life of this product.
Practical Application: Extra virgin olive oil is highly appreciated for its health benefits, taste, and aroma. These properties are an important aspect in this product quality and need to be preserved. The addition of natural additives instead of synthetic ones covers the present trend in food technology. This research showed that the addition of oregano essential oil preserved the intensity ratings of positive attributes in extra virgin olive oil during storage. The essential oil of the oregano variety called “Cordobes” exhibited better protecting effect on sensory properties of olive oil than the other oregano varieties. The addition of oregano essential oil should be considered for the food industry as a natural source of antioxidant additives for preserving sensory properties in extra virgin olive oil and other similar food products.