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Lipid Team

Lipid Team (Department of Food Science)
University "Alma Mater Studiorum" of Bologna 

Activity of the research group coordinated by Prof. Giovanni Lercker (Lipid Team of DISA).
The long-standing research carried out by the Lipid Team in food lipids, and in particular in extra virgin olive oils, has traditionally focused on both the technological and analytical aspects of lipid composition and stability. There is a special interest in instrumental chromatographic analytical techniques, as the Food Science Department has an established experience with these methods.
The intense interest in lipid oxidation and antioxidants has developed along several lines of research investigating mechanisms of oxidation as well as the presence of antioxidants and antioxidant activity in natural food sources.
During recent years, particular attention has been given to the utilization of chemical-physical analytical techniques (NIR, FTIR, electronic nose) and innovative analytical methods, which have the general aim to fight fraud and determine the origin and production traceability of virgin olive oils.
The analytical skills of the research group, in addition to standard analytical determinations on olive oils, are specialized in identification and determination of natural food components present in trace amounts in natural, biological, complex substrates, such as volatile compounds, “minor components” (present in low quantities but with substantial interest in terms of diagnostic purposes and health). In particular, these analytical methods have shown good power of separation and have provided an enormous interest in the evaluation of phenols and polyphenols.
Considering the multitude of studies carried out on phenols and polyphenols, it is necessary to underline the need to distinguish antioxidant activity of selected polyphenols from those with little or no antioxidant activity.
The primary analytical determinations carried out on olive oils have evaluated quality, and characterized the quality of individual oils, together with assessment of purity.
The laboratory analytical analyses that will be carried out on extra virgin olive oil samples in the proposed collaborative study are:
1) Sensory evaluation of virgin olive oil by the official panel of DISA (in particular organized by the lipid group) authorized by MIPAAF;
2) Determination of pigments (chlorophylls, carotenes and carotenoids)
3) Total polyphenols
4) Total HPLC profile of polyphenols (qualitative and quantitative analysis of phenolic compounds and their oxidized forms);
5) o-Diphenols;
6) Oxidized fatty acids;
7) Stability to forced oxidation;
8) Water content.

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