Olive oil and other healthy fats. Technological applications for their transformation into products with high added value.

Subsidised by CDTI in the FEDER INNTERCONECTA invitation.

EXP 00063971/ITC-20131081
April 15, 2013
March 30, 2015


The objective of this project was to develop technologies to obtain oils and fats with nutritional and technological improvements for use in food products, affecting health parameters and parameters related to their organoleptic properties.

This project is constituted by a consortium formed by five companies:

olive-oil-healthy-fats-1.jpg#asset:641) BIOSEARCH, S.A., a company devoted to the research, development and marketing of new products based on natural ingredients that are beneficial for health (company leading the consortium).

2) ACEITES DEL SUR-COOSUR, S.A., a leading Andalusian company in the production, marketing and exportation of olive oil, seeds and table sauces.

3) INGENIATRICS TECNOLOGIAS, a Seville-based company focused on technology (spin-off from the University of Seville in 2001) to develop solutions based on its own micro-encapsulation technologies that allow for innovation in products.

4) PEÑALVA ALIMENTACIÓN S.A., a SME that produces its own brand of ice cream, “Helados Nordwik”.

5) PHYTOPLANT RESEARCH, S.L., a Cordoba-based company devoted to the development and research of varieties of plants for medicinal, cosmetic and agri-food use, as well as the development and research of extracts, essential oils and purified compounds obtained from plant sources.

Three public research centres also participated: the UNIVERSITY OF GRANADA (Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Applied Physics); the UNIVERSITY OF CADIZ (Analysis and Design with Supercritical Fluids Research Group - Department of Chemical Engineering and Food Technology); and the UNIVERSITY OF CORDOBA (Department of Cellular Biology, Physiology and Immunology). And two innovation centres: CITOLIVA FOUNDATION - TECHNOLOGICAL CENTRE FOR OLIVE FARMING AND OLIVE OIL. ANDALUSIAN ASSOCIATION FOR RESEARCH AND INDUSTRIAL COOPERATION – AICIA. With a total of eight contracts.

Its specific objectives were the following:

- Development of technologies to obtain healthy fats with a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and/or omega-3 fatty acids with a solid and semi-solid texture, which makes them suitable for use in food products such as ice cream, confectioneries, pastries and snacks, preserving their texture and organoleptic characteristics.

- Development of emulsion processes to incorporate these oils, fats and bioactive compounds or compounds of technological interest into food.

- Development of processes to micro-encapsulate bioactive compounds and compounds of technological interest in lipid-based matrices.

- Development of olive oil and other oils to improve the nutritional and health profiles of ice cream and confectionery products, and also to improve the manufacturing procedure of these products or their technological application.


The most representative results obtained by Phytoplant Research when executing this project were the following:

- Hemp oil with a high content of fatty acids and polyphenols was obtained from hemp seeds by means of extraction with supercritical CO2. This technique made it possible to obtain more colourless and insipid oil than cold-pressed hemp seed oil. This absence of colour and taste make this oil ideal to be used as an ingredient in food products, since a 1:3 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 is optimal for health.


- Protein was obtained as a hemp seed by-product from hemp oil extraction with supercritical CO2. Hemp seed protein offers a wider array of amino acids than other vegetable proteins, and is digested more easily. These characteristics make it an excellent ingredient in juices and pastries.

- Purification of hemp oil-sourced linoleic acid and linolenic acid was specialised by means of a CCC purification system, followed by esterification to be incorporated into food.

GC-FID chromatogram of linoleic acid (C18:2) with 98% purity.

olive-oil-healthy-fats-3.jpg#asset:62GC-FID chromatogram of linolenic acid with purity of 76.34% for α-C18:3 and 21.15% for ϒ-C18:3.

olive-oil-healthy-fats-4.jpg#asset:61- Specialisation of chemical characterisation of hemp seed oils.

Determination by means of GC-FID of fatty acids in hemp oil obtained with supercritical CO2.


1. Myristate methyl ester (C14:0), 2. Palmitate methyl ester (C16:0), 3. Palmitoleate methyl ester (C16:1n9), 4. Stearate methyl ester (C18:0), 5. Oleate methyl ester (C18:1), 6. Linoleate methyl ester (C18:2), 7. Eicosanoate methyl ester (C20:0), 8. Linolenate methyl ester (ϒ-C18:3), 9. Linolenate methyl ester (α-C18:3), 10. Docosanate methyl ester (C22:0), 11. Eicosatetraenoate methylester (C20:4n6) and 12. Tetracosenoate methyl ester (C24:0).

- An evaluation was made of the biological activity presented by the oils obtained by extraction with supercritical CO2 at different pressure and temperature conditions, as well as the activity of purified compounds omega 3 and omega 6 and their derived products (sodium salt and ethyl ester). Interesting results were found for some oils obtained with supercritical CO2 since it produced an inhibition of NF-kB activation mediated by TNFα, considering that NF-kB is one of the most important regulators of pro-inflammatory gene expression and is involved in autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, sclerosis and cancer.

- In association with Ingeniatrics, ethyl ester from omega 3 and cold-pressed hemp oil was micro-encapsulated. This made it possible to mask the flavour of these ingredients, control a slow release of the ingredients, and add the oils to aqueous-based food such as sorbets. The addition of omega 3 to this type of ice cream creates a product with a high added value.

Image from light microscopy (10x) of cold-pressed hemp oil microparticles.


- In cooperation with Nordwik, the ingredients obtained from hemp were incorporated in the manufacturing process to create healthy ice cream thanks to the addition of omega 3 and omega 6 in a 1:3 ratio. The hemp seed milk ingredient was also created to be added to ice cream as a new range of products for lactose-intolerant consumers.

Samples of ice cream with ingredients from hemp seeds:


CN: control cream, NAC: cream with hemp oil, VC: control vanilla, VAC: vanilla with hemp oil, VSC: vanilla with hemp seed milk.

- A sensory analysis was conducted based on the triangle test and preference of ice cream containing ingredients obtained from hemp seeds. Ice cream with hemp milk stood out due to its different novel flavour, which could be successful on the market as food that is aimed at lactose-intolerant consumers and enriched with omega 3.



- Supercritical Fluid Process Research, Analysis and Design Research Group at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Food Technology of the University of Cadiz, PAIDI TEP128. Collaboration to conduct a study of the influence that operation variables have on the extraction process, a study of cascading concentration and precipitation of obtained extracts, and a scaling study at a pilot plant scale.

- Research Group BIO304 “Immunopharmacology and Molecular Virology” at the University of Cordoba. Collaboration to perform the chemical characterisation of oils and extracts obtained from hemp seeds and evaluation of the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective activity of such oils and extracts.