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Food Microbiol. 2012 Aug;31(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 Feb 2.

Lactic acid bacteria from fermented table olives.

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Departament de Bioquímica i Biotecnologia, Facultat d'Enologia, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Campus Sescelades N4, c/ Marcel.lí Domingo 1, 43007 Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain.


Table olives are one of the main fermented vegetables in the world. Olives can be processed as treated or natural. Both have to be fermented but treated green olives have to undergo an alkaline treatment before they are placed in brine to start their fermentation. It has been generally established that lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are responsible for the fermentation of treated olives. However, LAB and yeasts compete for the fermentation of natural olives. Yeasts play a minor role in some cases, contributing to the flavour and aroma of table olives and in LAB development. The main microbial genus isolated in table olives is Lactobacillus. Other genera of LAB have also been isolated but to a lesser extent. Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus pentosus are the predominant species in most fermentations. Factors influencing the correct development of fermentation and LAB, such as pH, temperature, the amount of NaCl, the polyphenol content or the availability of nutrients are also reviewed. Finally, current research topics on LAB from table olives are reviewed, such as using starters, methods of detection and identification of LAB, their production of bacteriocins, and the possibility of using table olives as probiotics.

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