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Ion Exchange Beads: A New Method of Debittering Olive

"Debittering" olives is a complex process. In their natural state, olive fruits are rich in a compound called phenol, which is unacceptable. If olive is to be squeezed into oil, its phenolic substances are not important. Most of them just need to be pressed to produce meat (just wait for the oil to be squeezed). However, edible olives must remove phenolics from them before they are eaten.

At present, the main way to "debitter" olives is to soak them in water or brine, and then soak them in sodium hydroxide solution. Later, it was found that tiny resin beads could be used to accomplish this task.

Ion exchange resin is a high porosity polystyrene resin, which adds additional chemical groups to capture different kinds of molecules. There are many kinds of ion exchange resins on the market, usually in the form of hollow beads. These beads have larger surface areas than their volumes, maximizing the number of polymers available for reactions. Beads are also easy to handle. 

If this discovery can be translated into commercial operation, the market will begin to have ion exchange resin beads for sale, the saltwater immersion stage can be shortened by three quarters, the alkali step can be completely eliminated, saving a lot of time and materials. Because the beads themselves can be properly treated to remove and treat phenolic substances, which can be recycled. Therefore, ion exchange beads may make olive processing cleaner, faster and cheaper.

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