The OLEUM Databank

Tatyana Dimitrova, Alain Maquet, Viet Mai Hoang, Arantza Respaldiza, Alexander Kerner

An inventory of existing databases on olives and olive oils highlighted the rarity of such systems (e.g. ISAMM system for the conformity checks of olive oils managed by EC) to control the authenticity of this food product. Consultations of stakeholders including national control bodies confirmed the paucity of such databanks reinforcing their interest on a common system, shared among the Member States and based on harmonized analytical methods.

During the project, Oleum Databank was built as an innovative web access platform to store the documents and validated analytical data generated by the OLEUM consortium. This system is developed using only modern and open-source technologies and provides a lot of flexibility. The Oleum Databank could be considered as built by three basic modules - Repository, Database and Search tool with a sophisticated role and access managements.

The repository is dedicated to store documents (in any format like pdf, doc, xls, etc.) with metadata describing each single document like title of the document, author(s), date of creating, date of upload in the repository, short description, purpose, category, status, access policy. The metadata is used in the search option of the repository. The user who uploads the file in the repository decides what access policy should apply to the document. Currently, documents can be stored as Calculation file, Reporting file template, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Specification of a reference material, Validation Report. This module supports version control, so each updated document can be traced when referred in an experiment.

The database is structured to manage and trace experiments. In summary, a user builds an experiment selecting participants, which techniques they will use on which samples, the measurands linked to the selected techniques and creates the report template including the metadata of these entities and the measurands to be reported by the participants. The system is quite flexible allowing users to modify, add, set mandatory and optional descriptors for any existing and new entities. The flip coin of this flexibility is a strict control on modifications of metadata to avoid multitude of variants in metadata. This structure aims to allow any users not involved in an experiment to understand, thanks to all the metadata, all details on the objectives, conditions, and results of the experiment(s) of interest. For instance, metadata of a sample describe either a reference sample (information is tracked from the field to bottled oil) or trustful sample (large amount of information is traceable) or experimental sample (available information on a product) including mandatory / voluntary data mentioned in the concerned EC regulations. It is worth to say that in addition to olive oil other edible oils can be registered. Potentially any analytical methods can be handled with appropriate metadata including the methods proposed by the OLEUM project but also those used by Member States to check the conformity of olive oils.

The Search module allows the user to search any keyword in the entire Oleum Databank, in each different entity data categories – documents, samples, sample sets, experiments, results and techniques. It is very powerful and allows the user to explore the available data in the Databank. The results from the search are presented in flexible table which is used for the visualization allowing selecting fields to be visualized, to apply different filters, to size columns, to sort each field, etc. The content of each such table can be exported as a simple csv file and analysed locally to the PC by the user.

In short-term, the Databank will be opened for the public requiring a registration to feed and exploit the database, in order to demonstrate the diagnostic ability of selected analytical methods/measurands to detect adulterated olive oils. In medium-term, depending on the interest of national control bodies, access could be restricted to them for confidentiality reasons.