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The intervention will have a positive effect on oil quality

The group TEQUIMA from the UCLM is participating in a European project to improve soils in olive groves

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The group TEQUIMA from the UCLM is participating in a European project to improve soils in olive groves


The research group Chemical and Environmental Technology (TEQUIMA) from the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) is participating in a European projects aimed at evaluating the soil quality of olive groves and developing the necessary treatments for improving them. This will have a positive effect on the quality of olive oil.

The University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) through the research group Chemical and Environmental Technology (TEQUIMA) on implementing the European project SOIL O-LIVE, received almost seven million euros for studying the effect of agricultural management on the general state of soils in Mediterranean olive groves and their impact on the production and quality of the oil produced in this area. This project was enframed within the Soil Heath and Food mission from the Horizon Europe R+D+I programme (European Union framework programme for research and innovation for the period 2021-2027) and is coordinated by the University of Jaén (Spain).

The project was justified by the need to study the effects of over fifty years of intensive agriculture on the soil. Some such consequences have been soil degradation and a reduction in biodiversity and loss of functionality. According to those spearheading the project, " this was the first large-scale rigorous environmental diagnosis of the state of the soil in olive groves. The most important areas of olive production in the Mediterranean were considered and their relationship with the quality of olive oil".  

In this ambitious plan, TEQUIMA received funds of 590 000 euros to carry out an exhaustive evaluation of the levels of pollution caused by pesticides on the soils in olive groves. Subsequently, they aim to implement the best strategies for treating these soils by technology based on electrochemicals and testing them as a pilot in olive groves. The participation of the UCLM in the project is headed by professor Cristina Sáez Jiménez, from the TEQUIMA Electrochemical Engineering Laboratory.

It is no wonder that the SOIL O-LIVE project aims to develop ecological restoration practices which promote improved biodiversity and soil functionality in permanent vegetable gardens which are the Mediterranean olive groves where they naturally grow. This should translate into improved quality and safety for olive oil. Likewise, the initiative will be used to define rigorous ecological thresholds which will enable future norms and regulations to be set for designing a new healthy soil certificate for European olive groves.

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