The University Institute of Research into Olives and Olive Oils (INUO) at the University of Jaén (UJA) has made itself known in different interventions within EXPOLIVA 2023 programme, as part of the Scientific-Technical Symposium and in the UJA stand at EXPOLIVA.
The director of the INUO, Juan B. Barroso, highlighted that INUO is currently made up of a hundred researchers from the University of Jaén belonging to 17 research groups that collaborate with external centres with a great trajectory. He also added that INUO is made up of 8 Research Units, including Biochemistry and Cellular Stress, Ecology, Genomics and Plant Breeding, Process Engineering, Marketing and Economy, Analytical Chemistry, Robotics and Automation, and Health and Epidemiology. In this way, Juan B. Barroso stated that the aim is to “cover all areas of research related to the sector and brings together research in relation to sustainability in the olive grove” and added that “it provides the sector with quality research, positioning itself as an international leader in the areas fundamentally related to the eco-sustainability of the olive grove, the environmental impact that climate change is generating to enable olive groves to be more resilient, especially in the current environment of persistent drought, as well as in the valuation of the sector in the objectives of health, consumption and society, and finally the digitisation of the sector, especially from the perspective of sustainability“.
In this sense, Francisco J. Torres Ruiz, deputy director of INUO, commented on the collaboration agreement established between UJA and the International Olive Council (IOC), by which, a section is being developed on the website on the Sustainability of the olive grove through the dissemination of guides and news of interest.
On the other hand, within the EXPOLIVA Programme, a series of European projects being developed at the University Institute of Research into Olives and Olive Oils of the UJA have been presented.
SOIL O-LIVE Project (The soil biodiversity and functionality of Mediterranean olive groves: a holistic analysis of the influence of land management on olive oil quality and safety), coordinated by the University of Jaén, involves 17 partners with funding of almost 7 million euros in the framework of the Soil Health and Food mission of the Horizon Europe R+D+i programme for the period 2021-2027. Its coordinator, researcher of the Department of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology of the UJA and member of INUO, Antonio J. Manzaneda, highlighted that its main objective is to study the effect of agricultural management on the global state of the soils of Mediterranean olive groves, as well as its impact on the production and quality of the olive oils produced in the Mediterranean basin. In this respect, he indicated that a first exhaustive diagnosis of the environmental situation of olive grove soils will be carried out on a large scale, considering the most representative areas of olive production in the Mediterranean region and their relationship with the olive grove and the quality of olive oil. Based on this first diagnosis, the project will develop practices and actions to ensure soil health, in order to obtain olive oils produced in a sustainable way.
In addition, Professor of Department of Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering of the UJA and head of the Process Engineering Unit of INUO, Sebastián Sánchez Villasclaras, reported on the projects: Artolio and OLIVEN-Ar Operational Group. Artolio project is financed by the European Union within the framework of the ENI CBC Med Programme, the aim of which is to establish a new level of superior quality for extra virgin olive oils by improving production processes to make them more sustainable and energy efficient. The idea is to develop measures that will improve the economy of the participating countries, which include Israel, Greece, France, Cyprus, Palestine, Jordan and Spain. Thus, the rural world and the agricultural sector will be given tools to position the product for its quality on the international market.
In relation to OLIVEN-Ar Operational Group, Sebastián Sánchez, together with the director of Citoliva, María Dolores Jiménez Martínez, highlighted that this project seeks to incorporate inertisation in the stages of separation of solid and liquid phases in the olive oil production process in the oil mill. It is financed by European Union and Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, coordinated by the UJA and with the collaboration of Citoliva, Oleocampo S.C.A. and Amenduni Ibérica.
Finally, SUSTAINOLIVE project for the improvement of olive grove sustainability and the management of olive mill by-products was presented by the researcher, José Liétor Gallego, through manuals and information sheets on good practices in olive grove. This PRIMA-H2020 project aims to implement and promote innovative solutions in management practices, based on agro-ecological foundations. SUSTAINOLIVE consortium is made up of 22 entities from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Tunisia and Morocco and it is coordinated by the University of Jaén.