OLIVE PASTE CONSISTENCY AS A CONTROL PARAMETER FOR OIL EXTRACTION: A PRELIMINARY APPROACH
AbstractMalaxation is a critical step of olive oil extraction process as it can largely affect the extraction yield along with product quality. At present, malaxation control is based upon accumulated empirical results and the experience of the operators. There are evidences that this method rarely point out the olive-paste state suitable for oil extraction. The paper reports the results of a laboratory investigation aimed to verify the feasibility of using the olive paste consistency variation during malaxation as a parameter representing the right state for oil extraction. Olive pastes consistency evaluation was performed with a rotational rheometer. Oil extraction yield was evaluated by means of an extractability index (EI) determined by laboratory centrifugation of the paste. The effect of different malaxation time and pastes humidity was investigated. Both malaxation time and humidity increments involve significant decrements of paste consistency and a simultaneous increase of EI. A good linear correlation among paste consistency and EI has been found, i.e. a large proportion of EI variance, about 90%, can be explained in terms of paste consistency variation during malaxation. The availability of a measurable parameter representing the paste state suitable for oil extraction could allow to implement a “closed-loop” control system for extraction yield maximization.
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Copyright (c) 2008 Piernicola Masella, Alessandro Parenti, Paolo Spugnoli
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