Apostolos Paul Kiritsakis M.Sc., Ph.D.
Chairman of the Greek Observatory of Oxidative Stress.
Apostolos Kiritsakis was born in the Greek Island Crete which produces the 1/3 of the
Greek production in olive oil. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Agriculture from
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Master and Ph.D degrees from Michigan
State University of USA.
Professor Kiritsakis has been involved in olive oil production since childhood and
has devoted his life to improving and promoting olive oil quality and nutritional
value. Being a full professor since 1980 he has taught a large number of students on
numerous occasions and new scientists in the olive oil field. He started his carrier in
1972 and he is now a world renowned researcher on olive oil and regarded as a
leader in olive oil quality, chemistry, adulteration, nutritional and health effects of
olive oil. He directed various scientific projects on olive oil and was asked to evaluate
several European projects as an expert in the field of olive oil. He was a scientific
advisor in olive projects in California (1989, 1992), Albania, (2004 -2006), Tunisia
(2001), Australia (2000), Argentine (2005), and in Greece (since 1985). He
contributed significantly to the Greek and Foreign olive industry by advising, on the
setting up of an olive factory, selecting suitability of proposed lot, machineries,
processing methods and conditions of operation. He suggested and introduced the
application of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) throughout all the
processing steps in the olive factories and the application of traceability system by
which from the code number in a bottle of olive oil, one is able to go back step by
step to the olive orchard where the oil comes from. Thus, in case of a problem of
deterioration or adulteration in the oil which comes in the market, one may detect the
step where it happened and the problem can be solved. He also trained farmers on
how to produce better quality olives and olive oil, preserving their important
functional constituents. This effort resulted in significant quality and market
improvements for olive oil.
Dr. Kiritsakis was one of the first scientists to conduct extensive research on olive
oil quality and promoted significantly olive oil internationally. He lectured and gave
seminars on the effects of olive oil on health (cancer, cholesterol, aging etc) and
persuaded more people to start using olive oil or increase their average consumption.
He is a reviewer of several scientific journals , such as: JAOCS, Food Chemistry,
Grasas y Aceites,European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, Journal Science
of Food Agriculture, Journal of Composition and Analysis and other . He is also a
member of the advisor committee of the journal “Grasas y Aceites”.
As a Dean of the School of Food Technology and Nutrition, Department of Food
Technology, Technological Institute of Thessaloniki, Greece, he pioneered in the field
by inviting outstanding scientists to lecture and interact with students and faculty to
expand the scope of their research field. During his carrier he had educated and
advised graduate students, from Greece, Maroc, Tunisia, Egypt, Albania and Turkey.
He was the first expert in olive oil and olives to talk in the olive school organized
in Perth, Australia in 1998 by the University of Western Australia, for a group of
farmers and scientists , who wanted to start business on olives and olive oil. He has
received an honour invitation, from the National Olive Association, Canberra,
Australia, to present two lectures (on olives and olive oil) on October 2008.In their
invitation letter they mention “Your expertise in olives and olive oil will be
invaluable for the Australian olive industry”.
Dr. Kiritsakis also educated an important group of Californian farmers and
scientists, who visited Greece in 1999 and were interested to be involved in olive
business. Lectures were given to the group and visits were paid to the most
important olive factories from North to the South part of Greece to gain the best
knowledges on olive oil production, quality and nutritional value.
Dr. Kiritsakis has been an active AOCS member since 1976, participated in
several Annual meetings of AOCS, Biennial meetings of Latin American - AOCS
(Columbia, Chile, Argentine, Brasil, Costa Rica), Reviewer for JAOCS, 1998-
present, Associate editor of JAOCS, 2000-present. He organized 2 sessions on
OLIVE OIL, AOCS Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada, 2002, and supported as one
of the main speakers the AOCS- IUPAC workshop in Tunis, 2004.
He organized a
short course in Istanbul, Turkey, 2006. Published the first book on Olive Oil in
English, by AOCS (p. 192, 1991).
He was one of the main organizers of the International Congress on Food
Technology in Thessaloniki, Greece (2007) and for all National Festivals of Olive Oil
and Olives in Athens, Greece. He was invited to lecture and present seminars on the
quality , nutritional and functional aspects of olive oil given in the following
Universities: Michigan State, Rhode Island, Nebraska, and Davis California, and in
several countries: Greece (in more than 20 cities), Cyprus (in 3 cities), Albania (in 5
cities), Italy (in 2 cities), The Netherlands (in 1 city) Morocco (in 2 cities), Tunisia (
in 4 cities), Argentina ( in 2 cities), Peru (in 1 city), Chili (in 1 city) and USA (in 3
Totally Professor Kiritsakis has been working for more than 42 years on the
subject of olive oil and presented and taught material to several students in seminars
short courses and national and international congresses as invited speaker.
2015 - Olive Oil, Olives and Olive leaves May Protect Our Body From Oxidative Stress and Different Diseases
Olive oil, a natural juice obtained from the fruit of the tree Olea europaea, is not only a
flavorful lipid food but also a product with a unique composition, playing an important role in
our diet. It is the primary monounsaturated oil and is believed to be protective against
cardiovascular heart diseases (CHD). Compared to other plant oils, it contains significant
amounts of polyphenols, flavonols and other compounds that have strong antioxidant
properties. The most important polyphenols found in olive oil are oleocanthal and oleacin,
which exhibit strong anti-inflammatory action. The presence of micro-components, such as
aroma and taste compounds and pigments (chlorophyll, pheophytin) in good quality extra
virgin olive oil facilitate the absorption of useful food constituents (e.g. antioxidants). Table
olives and olive leaves also contain phenolic compounds, such as oleuropein, acting as
functional compounds in our body, protecting it from different diseases related to oxidative
stress, which is related to the unbalance between the antioxidant constituents of the diet and
the presence of free radicals in our body.
Metabolic studies of blood lipids and evidence regarding oxidation of LDL cholesterol
suggest that consumption of extra virgin olive oil as a principal fat eliminates the oxidative
stress and therefore the presence of free radicals in our body and contributes in part for
traditionally low rates of CHD, breast cancer, and human longevity in general.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss why olive oil's, olives' and olive leaves'
functional constituents may eliminate the oxidative stress and protect our body from different