Experts argue that the oil extracted from the crossing of these two types of cultivated olive trees, the most commercially widespread worldwide, would improve the beneficial effect for the body, as reported by Fundación Descubre.
The work also notes two other factors that influence the presence of vitamin E, considered by the Spanish Heart Foundation as one of the most important in cardiovascular health due to its antioxidant effect.
"The effect of climate is more potent in varieties with a higher percentage of vitamin E," said Ifapa researcher Lorenzo León, author of the study "Analysis of Olive (Olea Europaea L.) Genetic Resources in Relation to the Content of Vitamin E in Virgin Olive Oil”, published in the journal Antioxidants. "As the olive matures the content of that nutrient decreases, so our recommendation, with exceptions, is to advance the harvest," he added.
The research, carried out over a decade, chose 2 of 96 olive varieties, all within Olea europaea subsp. Europaea. Among them, the 36 of the nuclear collection, which represent the highest percentage of genetic diversity of the species. The scientists had previously analyzed the presence of vitamin E in these 96 varieties, proving that the so-called llumeta, megaritikki and dokkar were leading that characteristic. Finally, as the Foundation has specified, they selected the two that have more cultivated hectares, the Picual; and the one that is represented in all producing countries, the Arbequina.
The study began in 2006 with the crosses. After waiting for the new trees to yield evaluable fruits, the experts collected and extracted samples of virgin olive oils of 126 varieties. "These descendants of the cross showed a great variation in vitamin E yield, some of them offering a very high content," said Leon. Future research will focus on knowing exactly that variety, without ruling out genetic analysis.
The investigation of the experts is the starting point for the final registration in the Community Plant Variety Office, prior to obtaining the license to market it. Ifapa has participated together with the University of Córdoba in the registration of three previously.
"The work is based on the great wealth of olive plant material available in the Ifapa, as well as the extensive experience and analytical capacity of the compounds studied at the CSIC", considered León.
As the Fundación Descubre has highlighted, the possibility that the variety of high vitamin E content ends up being used in industrial agriculture will also depend on the good result of other agronomic characteristics, such as the growth rate or disease resistance, so that profitability is sufficient.