Triterpenic content and chemometric analysis of virgin olive oils from forty olive cultivars

J Agric Food Chem. 2009 May 13;57(9):3604-10. doi: 10.1021/jf803237z.


Forty olive cultivars (Olea europaea, L.) from the World Olive Germoplasm Bank Collection of Cordoba (Spain) were studied for their oil triterpenic dialcohol (uvaol and erythrodiol) and acid (oleanolic, ursolic, maslinic) composition. Dialcohol content ranged from 8.15 to 85.05 mg/kg, erythrodiol being the most predominant (from 5.89 to 73.78 mg/kg), whereas uvaol content was found at lower levels (from 1.50 to 19.35 mg/kg). Triterpenic acid concentration oscillated between 8.90 to 112.36 mg/kg. Among them, ursolic acid was found at trace levels, while the mean values of oleanolic and maslinic acids ranged from 3.39 to 78.83 mg/kg and 3.93 to 49.81 mg/kg, respectively. The variability observed for both triterpenic dialcohols and acid content was emphasized by principal component and cluster analyses. Both analyses were able to discriminate between oil samples, especially by erythrodiol, oleanolic acid, and maslinic acids. Regarding these results, we conclude that the virgin olive oil triterpenic fraction can be considered as a useful tool to characterize monovarietal virgin olive oil.

MeSH terms

  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Olea*
  • Oleanolic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Oleanolic Acid / analysis
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Species Specificity
  • Triterpenes / analysis*


  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • Triterpenes
  • erythrodiol
  • Oleanolic Acid
  • maslinic acid
  • ursolic acid