The OLEUM Network: 1st and 2nd training workshops

Two high profile training workshops have taken place in the last 4 months to discuss the latest analytical methods undergoing validation within the project. The first workshop took place in Seville on 24th of October 2019 and the second in Bologna on the 11th of December 2019. Queen’s University Belfast led the organisation of these two events in conjunction with the local project partners, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Instituto de la Grasa (CSIC), and University of Bologna (UNIBO).


During the first workshop, two analytical methods undergoing pre-trial validation were discussed: a) UHPLC determination of total hydroxytyrosol (Htyr) and tyrosol (Tyr) for use in health claims, presented by Maria Tsimidou from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) and b) determination of fatty acids ethyl esters using different analytical platforms presented by Alessandra Bendini from UNIBO and Raquel Gomez-Coca from CSIC. A total of 42 participants from Spain, Italy, Germany, UK and France attended the event. Private and public analytical laboratories together with control authorities were represented and engaged in some very interesting discussions regarding the two methods and their application. Helpful iterations to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were made and useful feedback was provided to the developer teams. All the training material is accessible to OLEUM Network members via the Basecamp website.


The second workshop took place in Bologna on 11th December 2019 where 4 additional analytical methods also undergoing pre-trial validation were presented:


  1. SPE/GC-FID method to detect both free and esterified sterols (Paolo Lucci – University of Udine)
  2. Analysis of selected volatile compounds in virgin olive oil by gas chromatography (Diego Luis Garcia-Gonzalez (CSIC), Clemente Ortiz Romero (CSIC) and Enrico Valli (UNIBO))
  3. Analysis of virgin olive oil volatile fingerprint by SPME-GC-MS and chemometrics, as screening method to support the Panel test (Stefania Vichi –University of Barcelona)
  4. Sensory analysis of virgin olive oils with the use of two Reference Materials (Alessandra Bendini – University of Bologna)


The workshop was really well attended and comprised 72 participants (producers, distributors, private and public laboratories, research institutions and Universities) from Spain, Italy, Germany, UK, France, Turkey and Croatia.


Feedback from each workshop was very positive and demonstrated the value of the OLEUM Network. Participants valued the opportunity to link with other stakeholders, share their experiences, discuss with experts, solve common problems and participate in validation of the new analytical methods developed within the OLEUM project.


There are plans for further region-specific focused technical workshops in Italy, Spain and perhaps France and other countries, to promote further stakeholder engagement with the OLEUM methods presented in the local language - Follow the OLEUM project for further details. The scheduling of a virtual project meeting is under definition for the next month.