Olive oil composition as a function of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium plant nutrition

Arnon Dag*, Eric Ben-David, Zohar Kerem, Alon Ben-Gal, Ran Erel, Loai Basheer, Uri Yermiyahu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Macronutrients play fundamental roles in processes affecting olive oil productivity and are expected to influence oil composition. A necessary step in optimal nutrient application management for olives is an understanding of the relationship between olive tree nutritional status and oil quality parameters. We studied the independent effects of N, P and K concentrations in irrigation solution on the oil quality of 'Barnea' olives by applying a wide range of macronutrient concentrations under highly controlled conditions. RESULTS: Oil composition was significantly influenced by P and N levels, while K levels had only a minor effect. Unsaturation levels were unaffected by the treatments but, within the unsaturated fatty acids, the levels of PUFA increased compared to those of MUFA. Specifically, levels of the MUFA C18: 1, polyphenol content and peroxide values decreased while levels of the PUFA C18: 3 increased in response to higher doses of N and P. CONCLUSION: Decreased MUFA and polyphenol levels coupled with increased omega-3 levels demonstrated a potential negative influence on oil profile alongside increased nutritional benefits. The sum effects on oil yield and composition should be considered in designing of nutrient application management strategies for olive orchards.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1871-1878
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number11
StatePublished - 30 Aug 2009


  • Acidity
  • Fatty acid
  • Fertigation
  • Fertilisation
  • MUFA
  • Olive oil
  • Omega 3
  • PUFA
  • Peroxide
  • Polyphenol


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