Why is Olive Oil Awesome?

This week Reactions explores the rich chemistry and science behind olive oil. Whether you sop it up with bread or use it to boost your cooking, olive oil is awesome. But a lot of chemistry goes on in that bottle that can make or break a product. Take the “extra virgin” standard: Chemistry tells us that a higher free-fatty-acid content leads to a lower grade, less tasty oil. And those peppery notes are thanks to antioxidants that contribute to olive oil’s healthy reputation. Check out the latest Reactions video for more olive oil chemistry, including how to keep yours fresh and how to best use it to give your food a flavor boost.

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Fact Checker:
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Kerri Jansen

Sean Parsons

Executive Producer:
Adam Dylewski

Scientific consultants:
John Gleeson, Ph.D.
Darcy Gentleman, Ph.D.
Dan Flynn

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Oxidative stability of virgin olive oil (2002; CSIC) – https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Joaquin_Velasco/publication/264617494_Oxidative_stability_of_virgin_olive_oil/links/55c9a22808aeb97567478f3e.pdf

Smoke point reference used in cast-iron script – http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article/50/Smoke-Points-of-Various-Fats

California Olive Oil Council – https://www.cooc.com/tips-for-cooking-storage/
Certification process – https://www.cooc.com/certification-process/

International Olive Council; Testing methods list – http://www.internationaloliveoil.org/estaticos/view/224-testing-methods

Australian Olive Association “Health Effects of Rancid Oils” – https://www.australianolives.com.au/assets/files/pdfs/Media/HealthEffectsofRancidOils.pdf

Ever wonder why dogs sniff each others’ butts? Or how Adderall works? Or whether it’s OK to pee in the pool? We’ve got you covered: Reactions a web series about the chemistry that surrounds you every day.

Reactions is produced by the American Chemical Society.

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