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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 535781, 11 pages
Research Article

Quality and Trace Element Profile of Tunisian Olive Oils Obtained from Plants Irrigated with Treated Wastewater

1Centro di Ricerca per l’Olivicoltura e l’Industria Olearia, CRA, via Li Rocchi 111, 87036 Rende, Italy
2Olive Tree Institute, University of Sfax, Route de l’aeroport Km 1.5, BP 1087, 3000 Sfax, Tunisia
3National School of Engineering, University of Gabes, Rue Omar Ibn El Khattab 6029, Tunisia

Received 31 October 2011; Accepted 4 December 2011

Academic Editor: María Luisa de la Torre

Copyright © 2012 Cinzia Benincasa 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.


In the present work the use of treated wastewater (TWW) to irrigate olive plants was monitored. This type of water is characterized by high salinity and retains a substantial amount of trace elements, organic and metallic compounds that can be transferred into the soil and into the plants and fruits. In order to evaluate the impact of TWW on the overall quality of the oils, the time of contact of the olives with the soil has been taken into account. Multi-element data were obtained using ICP-MS. Nineteen elements (Li, B, Na, Mg, Al, K, Ca, Sc, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Sr, Mo, Ba and La) were submitted for statistical analysis. Using analysis of variance, linear discriminant analysis and principal component analysis it was possible to differentiate between oils produced from different batches of olives whose plants received different types of water. Also, the results showed that there was correlation between the elemental and mineral composition of the water used to irrigate the olive plots and the elemental and mineral composition of the oils.