• Aspergillus sp.;
  • Candida famata;
  • modified atmospheres;
  • storage;
  • table olives

Microbiological, physico-chemical and organoleptic changes were studied in dry-salted olives, cv. Thassos, stored under different atmospheres (100% carbon dioxide and nitrogen, 40% CO2/30%O2/30%N2 and air) at 4 and 20 °C for 180 days. The initial microbial flora comprised of yeasts, no lactic acid bacteria, enterobacteria, pseudomonads or Staphylococcus aureus were detected, as the low water activity/high salt content does not favour their growth. At 4 °C, the population of yeasts declined steadily throughout storage but to a different extent depending on the gaseous atmospheres. At 20 °C, there was an initial decline in yeast counts in all samples followed by a steady increase until the end of the storage period. The CO2 atmosphere was most effective at keeping the number of yeasts low at both storage temperatures. All gas atmospheres prevented fungal growth at both temperatures apart from the samples stored in air. The pH, aw and salt content of the olives did not change significantly throughout the storage period. The prevailing yeast species was the salt tolerant Candida famata. The organoleptic characteristics did not differ significantly among differently treated olives. However, increased rancidity and reduced fruit colour was observed in the samples stored at 20 °C.