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Journal of Chemistry
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 4974609, 15 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/4974609
Research Article

The Effect of Soil Management on Olive Yield and VOO Quality in a Rainfed Olive Grove of Central Spain

Madrid Institute for Rural, Agricultural and Food Research and Development (IMIDRA), Carretera A-2 km 38.2, Alcalá de Henares, 28800 Madrid, Spain

Received 5 August 2016; Accepted 24 October 2016

Academic Editor: Nicola Caporaso

Copyright © 2016 Blanca Sastre et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Rainfed olive groves have been traditionally tilled in order to reduce the competition for water and nutrients. In sloping Mediterranean olive groves, this practice leads to high erosion rates, resulting in a reduction in soil fertility. Cover crops have been employed as a sustainable olive grove management strategy, but previous studies found differences in their effect on fruit load and there is scarce information on their influence on the virgin olive oil (VOO) quality. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of different soil management strategies on olive and oil yield and VOO physicochemical and sensory characteristics in a rainfed olive grove (238 trees·ha−1) of Cornicabra cultivar, the main in Central Spain. No effect of soil management was found in olive or oil yield along three cropping seasons. VOO quality was mainly influenced by the year, but slight differences were found in the driest year between the studied treatments. Small differences in fruit ripening, pigments, and several fatty acids as well as in sensory parameters were found.