Scientists Develop Gelatinous Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Italy

Gelled extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) could soon replace solid saturated fat and trans fat in many different food preparations, providing an unsaturated fat alternative with the organoleptic and antioxidant properties of EVOO.

Researchers have devised a method to trap extra virgin olive oil in networks of self-assembled molecules, finding it does not lose its unique qualities in this form. They also found that those networks, known as oleogelators, offer enhanced quality protection for EVOO during storage

“We have tested different extra virgin olive oil oleogelators to understand better how the final product would perform,” Marilisa Alongi, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Udine’s department of agricultural, food, environmental and animal sciences, told Olive Oil Times.

“Bakery products, biscuits, puff pastry and crackers are some of the applications we have tested,” she added.

Sonia Calligaris, a professor in the same department at the University of Udine, said that researchers have increasingly experimented with oleogelation solutions over the years.

Currently, researchers are studying the possibility of “gelling” Coratina extra virgin olive oil to see if the resulting structured “creamy” product could be used as an alternative to certain supplements and a cooking ingredient.

The oleogel production process involves heating extra virgin olive oil up to 60C or 90C, depending on the fusion temperature of the gelling agent used in the preparation. According to the researchers, extra virgin olive oil’s polyphenol profile did not show significant alterations during the process in a controlled heating environment.

Capable of keeping their structure at room temperature, oleogels self-standing texture varied depending on the different additives used to build the structured network.

The resulting product was then tested to understand what happened to extra virgin olive oil quality during storage. The researchers then evaluated the presence of hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol and alpha-tocopherol and how these levels changed over time in different storage conditions. More

Read the Research Report, Oleogelation of extra virgin olive oil by different oleogelators affects the physical properties and the stability of bioactive compounds here.