The effect of salinity on physiological traits, fatty acid composition and desaturase genes expression in fruit mesocarp of olive cultivar Leccino was investigated. Significant reduction of shoot elongation (-12%) during salt treatments (80 mM NaCl) was associated with the translocation of Na in the aerial part. After 75 days of treatment, fruits from each plant were subdivided into four maturation groups (MG0, MG1, MG2, MG3) according to ripening degrees. Na accumulation increased in each MG under salinity, reaching the highest values in MG1 fruits (2654 mg kg-1 DW). Salinity caused an acceleration of the ripening process, increased fruit number and decreased total fatty acids content in MG3. An increase in oleic acid at MG1 (53%) was detected, with consequent increase in the oleic/linoleic (41%) and decrease in the polyunsaturated/monounsaturated ratios (30%). Those variations could be explained by the synergic up-regulation of OeSAD1, together with the down-regulation of OeFAD6 transcript levels.