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Boosting state's olive growth, processing

Video Transcript:

The Olive Center is a university-industry partnership. We get a lot of support from the industry and in fact we're a self supporting center. We don't get any money from the university at all. We are looking to promote innovation through our research, provide services to the industry and to push the tipping point for quality so that the consumer can be assured that they're buying a quality product at the super market.

Extra virgin olive oil has a bunch of sensory criteria laid out in USDA standards, but for most people what extra virgin would mean is when they taste it and it should have no defects such as rancidity and at least some fruitiness.

What we're going to have done are a lab setup that a producer can send a sample to and we would analyze the quality of that olive oil and let them know exactly how good of olive oil it is and also what the shelf life of the oil would be.

We're focusing on particularly two tests. We find these two tests to correlate the best with sensory. So, we're trying to understand a little bit better with these two methods.

So, we tested a lot of supermarket oils. We went to the supermarket and pulled them off the shelf like any customer would and we code them. That's how we test our samples, we pour it out and we replace the head space with nitrogen to replace oxygen so that it slows down oxidation in the olive oil. We store them in this temperature controlled room in the dark.

So, this is the instrument that we got when we started olive oil research.  It's a GCMS, a gas chromatography-mass spectrometer. It tells us the composition of the oils such as fatty acid profiles and we also use it to study other parameters in olive oil.

We're really looking at improving the level of sophistication in these tests. We want this chemistry to be better faster and cheaper for the producer and the importer and retailer.  We've had the benefit of a close working relationship with the olive industry that's then good for the university and I believe good for the goals of this industry in California.