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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00241


  • 1Biochemistry and Molecualr Biology of Plant Products, Instituto de la Grasa (CSIC), Spain
  • 2Instituto Andaluz de Investigación y Formación Agraria, Pesquera, Alimentaria y de la Producción Ecológica (IFAPA), Spain

Olive growing is mainly based on traditional varieties selected by the growers across the centuries. The few attempts so far reported to obtain new varieties by systematic breeding have been mainly focused on improving the olive adaptation to different growing systems, the productivity and the oil content. However, the improvement of oil quality has rarely been considered as selection criterion and only in the latter stages of the breeding programs. Due to their health promoting and organoleptic properties, phenolic compounds are one of the most important quality markers for VOO although they are not commonly used as quality traits in olive breeding programs. This is mainly due to the difficulties for evaluating oil phenolic composition in large number of samples and the limited knowledge on the genetic and environmental factors that may influence phenolic composition. In the present work, we propose a high throughput methodology to include the phenolic composition as a selection criterion in olive breeding programs. For that purpose, the phenolic profile has been determined in fruits and oils of several breeding selections and two varieties (‘Picual’ and ‘Arbequina’) used as control. The effect of three different environments, typical for olive growing in Andalusia, Southern Spain, was also evaluated. A high genetic effect was observed on both fruit and oil phenolic profile. In particular, the breeding selection UCI2-68 showed an optimum phenolic profile, which sums up to a good agronomic performance previously reported. A high correlation was found between fruit and oil total phenolic content as well as some individual phenols from the two different matrices. The environmental effect on phenolic compounds was also significant in both fruit and oil, although the low genotype x environment interaction allowed similar ranking of genotypes on the different environments. In summary, the high genotypic variance and the simplified procedure of the proposed methodology for fruit phenol evaluation seems to be convenient for breeding programs aiming at obtaining new cultivars with improved phenolic profile.

Keywords: olive breeding, Virgin olive oil, phenolic compounds, Genotype, genotype x environment interaction, Olea europaea L.

Received: 11 Oct 2017; Accepted: 12 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Mariela Torres, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), Argentina

Reviewed by:

Primo Proietti, University of Perugia, Italy
Agnese Taticchi, University of Perugia, Italy
Arnon Dag, Agricultural Research Organization (Israel), Israel  

Copyright: © 2018 Pérez, León, Sanz and De La Rosa. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Ana G. Pérez, Instituto de la Grasa (CSIC), Biochemistry and Molecualr Biology of Plant Products, Seville, Spain,