Journal article Open Access
Olive oil production using three-phase decanter systems creates olive oil and two by-products: olive mill wastewater (OMWW) and pomace. These by-products contain the highest share of polyphenolic compounds that are known to be associated with beneficial effects on human health. Therefore, they are an attractive source of phenolic compounds for further industrial use in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries. The use of these phenolics is limited due to difficulties in recovery, high reactivity, complexity of the OMWW matrix and different physiochemical properties of phenolic compounds. This research, focused on OMWW, was performed in two phases. First, different polyphenol extraction methods were compared to obtain the method that yields the highest polyphenol concentration. Twenty-five phenolic compounds and their isomers were determined. Acidifying OMWW, followed by five minutes of ultrasonication, resulted in the highest measured polyphenol content of 27 mg/L. Second, the collection of polyphenolic compounds from OMWW via adsorption on unmodified iron (II, III) oxide particles was investigated. Although low yields were obtained for removed polyphenolic compounds in one removal cycle, the process has a high capability to be repeated.