Spanish Scientists Awarded for Research on Olive Cultivation

By IVÁN L. GIMENO on October 30, 2014
Filed in European Union

The results of the second Scientific Research in Olives and Olive Oil Awards, sponsored by the Caja Rural of Jaén Foundation, were announced during a conference in the Andalusian capital today. The Spanish scientific researchers Mercedes Campos and Mario Porcel were awarded the €5,000 prize.


Geolit, the technological and scientific park of Jaén located in Mengíbar, was the venue of this event, whose jury decided to elect the research “Bioecological Study of the Chrysopidae Family in Olive Orchards: a Population Growth and Conservation Perspective,” written by both scientists as the winning choice.

The second prize was granted to the work of three young Spanish scientists, Javier Sanz, Manuel David García and Manuel Barneo for their study “Jaén´s Mountain Oliva Oil: Quality and Value Chain,” awarded with €2,000. Finally, the jury also decided to give a special mention to the research “Prospective, Study and Evaluation of the Mosses as Vegetal Cover in Jaén´s Oliva Oil Fields,” written by the team composed by Susana Rams, Milagros Saavedra and Cristina Alcántara.

This is the second edition of the awards, which are recognized in the Spanish olive oil industry. It is promoted by Caja Rural of Jaén Foundation to recognize studies by researchers who are contributing to advances in scientific knowledge related to the olive. It includes aspects such as how the elaboration process of the olive oil contributes to the social, economic and environmental improvement of the country

Aspects like the quality and the adaptation of the methodology in the research to obtain valid results, and their relevance to people and their usefulness were key to select the winners. The jury was presided by Manuel Parras (rector of the Jaén University) and included Francisco Molina (secretary of the Caja Rural of Jaén Foundation), Mercedes Fernández (head of the technical and chemistry & standardization units of the International Olive Council), Gabriel Beltrán (in charge of the research department at IFAPA) and Carlos Piniña (representative of the Andalusian Agricultural Engineers College).

A conference with the title “Jaén´s Olive Oil and Sovena Group: Leading the Present and Building The Future,” was also conducted at the event by Luis Folqué.


How The Olive Compound Hydroxytyrosol Helps Stop Infections

A compound found naturally in olives helps fight bacterial infections, according to an international patent application by Spanish scientists.

They say hydroxytyrosol and derivatives of it can disrupt quorum sensing (QS) – a way in which bacteria ‘talk’ to each other – thereby making infections less virulent. With antibiotic resistance increasing, this is seen as a promising way of treatment.

Madrid-based patent applicant Seprox Biotech, which sells hydroxytyrosol (HT), claims that HT and its derivatives hydroxytyrosol acetate (HTA) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) have good anti-QS activity, making them useful for preventing and treating many kinds of infections.


Potential usage

It said in its application that in vivo uses could include pharmaceutical preparations for the treatment of bacterial infection. Ex vivo uses include in the manufacture of food, food packaging, medical devices and pharmaceutical compositions, including application to or use in the making of surfaces – such as in medical devices and foods or food packaging – to inhibit formation of bacterial biofilm.

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University of California : Innovative center dedicated to olive oil, table olives

ideas2Narrator: This is Science Today. The Olive Center at the University of California, Davis, is hoping to do for olives what UC Davis did for wine – that is, become an international industry leader in education and research. Dan Flynn, director of the UC Davis Olive Center, says its mission is three-fold.

Flynn: We are looking to promote innovation through our research; provide services to the industry and to consumers; and to push the tipping point for quality, so that the consumer can be assured that they’re buying a quality product at the supermarket.

Narrator: The center boasts one of the few sensory panels that exist in the world for olive oil.

Flynn: And what the panel does is examine the flavor, the texture, the complexity of olive oil. One of the things they’re looking for are defects, but beyond that are the positive qualities of the olive oil that make it such an important part of the table.

Source: Science Today, Larissa Branin.