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Morphological and biochemical characterization of ancient olive trees in Bshaaleh Lebanon

Author: 
Elie Bou Yazbeck, Georges Abi Rizk, Alfredo Battistini, Georges Hassoun, Leila Geagea, Rony El-Khoury and Franco Famiani
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Since Lebanon does not have a comprehensive reference on national olive (Oleaeuropaea L.) germplasm, concerning especially the oldest olive trees growing the Bshaaleh area, in northern Lebanon, this study was conducted to characterize these trees using a morphological and biochemical approach and to evaluate the level of their similarity. Samples were taken from leaves, flowers, fruits and stones from the 15 olives accessions and oil was extracted from fruits. Notable all morphological characteristics considered were similar to many different cultivars identified in the Mediterranean area including: tree canopy, leaves, inflorescence and fruit characteristics. According to the PCA and the cluster analysis, morphological characterization of the ancient olive trees of Bshaaleh showed that the olive trees were clustered into three groups, with difference in morphology between B1, B2, B3 and B5 (group 1), B4, B7, B8, B9, B10, B12, B13 and B15 (group 2) and B6, B11 and B14 (group 3).Concerning the biochemical characteristics of the 15 accessions oils, the acidity, peroxide number and the spectrophotometer absorbencies in ultra-violet were low and iodine value high. All of the biochemical values (acidity, peroxide number, absorbencies in ultra-violet, refractive index, iodine value and saponification values) used to evaluate oil quality were within the IOC trade standards for extra virgin olive oil.

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