Olive (Olea europaea L.) tree nitrogen status is a key factor for olive oil quality

Ran Erel, Zohar Kerem, Alon Ben-Gal, Arnon Dag, Amnon Schwartz, Isaac Zipori, Loai Basheer, Uri Yermiyahu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The influence of macronutrient status on olive oil properties was studied for three years. Data were analyzed by a multivariate model considering N, P, K, and fruiting year as explanatory factors. Oil quality parameters were primarily associated with N concentration in leaves and fruits which increased with N in irrigation solution. The effect of P on oil quality was mainly indirect since increased P availability increased N accumulation. The potassium level had negligible effects. The oil phenolic content decreased linearly as a function of increased leaf N, indicating protein-phenol competition in leaves. The overall saturation level of the fatty acids decreased with fruit N, resulting in increased polyunsaturated fatty acids. Free fatty acids increased with increased levels of fruit N. High fruit load tended to reduce fruit N and subsequently improve oil quality. The effect of N on oil properties depended solely on its concentration in leaves or fruits, regardless of the cause.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)11261-11272
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number47
StatePublished - 27 Nov 2013


  • Olea europaea
  • fatty acid composition
  • free fatty acids
  • mineral nutrition
  • polyphenols


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