Background: Olive oil and table olive biophenols have been shown to significantly
enrich the hedonic-sensory and nutritional quality of the Mediterranean diet. Oleuropein is one
of the predominant biophenols in green olives and leaves, which not only has noteworthy freeradical
quenching activity but also putatively reduces the incidence of various cancers. Clinical
trials suggest that the consumption of extra virgin olive oil reduces the risk of several degenerative
diseases. The oleuropein-based bioactives in olive oil could reduce tumor necrosis factor α,
interleukin-1β and nitric oxide. Therefore, the quality of olive biophenols should be preserved
and even improved due to their disease-fighting properties.
Objective: Understanding the molecular dynamics of oleuropein is crucial to increase olive oil
and table olive quality. The objective of this review is to provide the molecular dynamics and
computational mapping of oleuropein.
Method: The oleuropein molecular bond sequential breaking mechanisms were analyzed
through unimolecular reactions under electron spray ionization, collision activated dissociations,
and fast atom bombardment mass spectrometry.
Results: Oleuropein is a biophenol-secoiridoid expressing different functionalities such as two
π-bonds, two esters, two acetals, one catechol, and four hexose hydroxyls within 540 mw. The
oleuropein solvent-free reactivity is leading to glucose loss and bioactive aglycone-dialdehydes
via secoiridoid ring opening.
Conclusion: Oleuropein electron distribution revealed that the free-radical non-polar processes
occur from its highest occupied molecular orbital, while the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital
is clearly devoted to nucleophilic and base site reactivity. This molecular dynamics and computational
mapping of oleuropein could contribute to the engineering of olive-based biomedicine
and/or functional food.