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Effect of Production System (Organic versus Conventional) on Olive Fruit and Oil Yields and Oil Quality Parameters in the Messara Valley, Crete, Greece; Results from a 3-Year Farm Survey

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nikolaos Volakakis, Dr Emmanouil Kabourakis, Dr Leo RempelosORCiD, Professor Carlo Leifert



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. The demand for organic olive oil has increased rapidly over the last 40 years, but there is limited information on the effects of organic production methods on commercially and nutritionally relevant quality parameters in olive oil. The main objective of this farm survey-based study was therefore to compare fruit and oil yields and important oil quality parameters (including acidity, peroxide value and fatty acid profiles) between organic and conventional farms located in the Messara Plain and foothills. As expected, yields were substantially higher on farms in the Messara Plain compared with those in the foothills which have poorer soil, less access to irrigation water and are the more extensively managed. However, different to the many previous studies (which reported lower yields in organic systems), both fruit and oil yields were not significantly different in organic and conventional production and numerically ~10% higher in organic production. Additionally, olive oil quality was very high, and no substantial effects of production systems and farm location were found. Potential factors (e.g., low olive fly pressure) which may have contributed to the lack of a yield and quality gap between organic and convention production in the Messara region are discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Volakakis N, Kabourakis E, Kiritsakis A, Rempelos L, Leifert C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Agronomy

Year: 2022

Volume: 12

Issue: 7

Print publication date: 01/07/2022

Online publication date: 21/06/2022

Acceptance date: 16/06/2022

Date deposited: 12/07/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2073-4395

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/agronomy12071484


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Funder referenceFunder name
Greek State Scholarships Foundation (IKY) to Nikos Volakakis
European Union Integrated project Quality Low Input Food (Grant number 506358)