Zeolites and Biochar Modulate Olive Fruit and Oil Polyphenolic Profile uri icon


  • Doctoral fellowship under the Doctoral Program “Agricultural Production Chains—from fork to farm” (PD/00122/2012) provided by the FCT-Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology to S. Martins (PD/BD/135327/2017). This research was funded by the Operational Group “Novas práticas em olivais de sequeiro: estratégias de mitigação e adaptação às alterações climáticas”, funded by PT2020 and EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development). The authors are grateful to the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, Portugal) and FEDER under Programme PT2020 for financial support to CQ-VR (UIDB/00616/2020), CIMO (UIDB/00690/2020) and CITAB (UIDB/04033/2020) and also to AgriFood XXI Project, No. NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000041, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through NORTE 2020 (North Regional Operational Program 2014–2020).
  • Soil degradation processes and climate change threaten the sustainability of Mediterranean rainfed olive orchards, with repercussions on crop yield and quality of olives, olive oil and olive by-products. Using soil amendments can enhance soil fertility for sustained environmental quality and plant performance. For two years, we evaluated, under rainfed conditions, the effects of a fertilizer compound (FC) and its combination with zeolites (ZL) and biochar (BC) amendments on soil moisture, yield, fruit and oil polyphenols and quality indices. The polyphenolic composition was strongly influenced by treatments, although no effects were observed on crop yield. ZL improved soil moisture (average increase of 26.3% compared to FC), fruit fatty acid composition (increase of 12.4% in oleic/linoleic ratio in 2018) and oil quality, BC enhanced the concentrations of polyphenols with high nutritional value (average annual increase of 25.6, 84.8 and 11.6% for 3,4-dihydroxyphenylglycol, oleuropein and rutin, respectively). In contrast, olive oil from FC fruits showed the poorest quality, with oxidation and hydrolytic breakdown signals. The applied soil amendments appear to be a promising sustainable strategy to implement in olive rainfed orchards.

publication date

  • January 2022