A team of researchers from the Institute of Research and Training in Agriculture and Fisheries (Ifapa) of Mengíbar (Jaén) has worked on a pioneering project based on the description of volatile compounds responsible for the aroma of extra virgin olive oil that persist during the digestion process up to the intestine, where they could exert their healthy effect by protecting against bacterial infections mainly in the intestinal tract. Those responsible for the work, Araceli Sánchez and Gabriel Beltrán, say it is “a pioneering project based on the description of volatile compounds responsible for the aroma of extra virgin olive oil that persist during the process of digestion to the intestine.”
It is there, in the intestine, where apparently the volatile compounds responsible for the aroma of virgin olive oil could exert a healthy effect by protecting against bacterial infections mainly in the intestinal tract. “In addition to its effect on the sensory characteristics of food, some of these compounds in isolation can have healthy properties”.
The researchers say that, in the case of virgin olive oil, it is unknown what happens to them during digestion. “In this work the changes suffered by the compounds responsible for the smell of green extra virgin olive oil in each stage from the mouth to the small intestine have been studied during digestion”.
The study was conducted using an “in vitro” model that simulates human digestion at each stage of the same. “The results describe what happens with each of these compounds in each of the stages of digestion, so that, while some components are metabolized, others reach the small intestine.”
Here they can be directly absorbed, say the researchers, or continue to the colon, where they could be metabolized by the intestinal bacterial flora and be absorbed or they could exert their beneficial effect directly”.
According to the researchers responsible for the work, Araceli Sánchez and Gabriel Beltrán, it is a pioneering study that is the starting point for future work on the relationship of aroma compounds of extra virgin olive oil with its healthy properties, at the same time which shows that oils with excellent sensory characteristics are also healthier.
The works carried out in the Ifapa of Mengíbar have been published in the prestigious scientific journal “Journal of the Agricultural and Food Chemistry” and are part of the doctoral thesis of Angelica Quintero Flores.
SOURCE: Journal of the Agricultural and Food Chemistry.