An experiment that lasts 24 months to study the effects of staying in space on the chemical-physical, sensory and nutritional characteristics of extra virgin olive oil. The samples of Italian extra virgin olive oil reached the International Space Station, thanks to a project included in the framework of the agreement between the Italian Space Agency and CREA, in collaboration with Coldiretti and Unaprol-Consorzio Olivicolo Italiano. The extra virgin olive oil samples will be brought back to Earth after 6, 12 and 18 months respectively to be analyzed and compared with those of the controls left on the ground.
In particular, the experiment will investigate how the composition of secondary metabolites – phenols and tocopherols (vitamin E) – is influenced by microgravity and radiation present in space and will serve to gather new information on EVOO stability and shelf life in the spatial environmental conditions. The project will also study how the type of containers currently used on board the ISS affects the product. Already next January, so there will be the first comparative samples between the samples that went into orbit and their ‘twins’ left on Earth.