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J Food Prot. 2004 Oct;67(10):2189-94.

Occurrence of Listeria monocytogenes in green table olives.

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Dipartimento di Orto Floro Arboricoltura e Tecnologie Agro-Alimentari, University of Catania, via Santa Sofia, 98-95123, Catania, Italy.


Microbiological safety of green table olives from different cultivars, prepared by both the Spanish-style and biological methods and fermented with starter cultures of lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, and Lactobacillus pentosus), was investigated. The fermentation process was monitored by measuring pH values, titratable acidities, and growth of lactic acid bacteria over time. During fermentation, lactic acid bacteria and yeasts were major microbial populations. Microbiological safety was evaluated by analysis for Listeria monocytogenes with the use of an enrichment method during storage (from 55 days to 18 months). Results demonstrated that L. monocytogenes can survive and grow in green table olives. L. monocytogenes was found in one of the commercial (thermally treated) samples analyzed and in all samples older than 2 months, irrespective of olive cultivar, lactic acid bacteria starter used, pH and titratable acidity of brine samples, or treatment applied.

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