Several experiments showed that whole, unmilled olives (Olea europaea L.) could be dehydrated in 42 hours in a forced-air oven at 105 °C (221 °F), so that they could be used in determining their oil content in a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyzer. After confirming that the NMR and the official Soxhlet methods estimate the same oil percentages in milled olives, linear regression analysis also showed that NMR provides the same oil percentage results with milled and unmilled fruit. This new method avoids sample manipulation before dehydrating the fruit, making it possible to work with olive samples weighing as little as 70 g (2.47 oz). It allows for processing a large number of samples in a short period of time and may be also used with unmilled fruit flesh. The method is also very useful for screening genotypes, either from germplasm banks or progenies from olive breeding programs, and for evaluating cultivars in comparative trials.
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