Selection of Yeasts as Starter Cultures for Table Olives


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 Ninety-nine yeasts were isolated from Bella di Cerignola table olives; first, the strains were studied in relation to their ability to produce biogenic amines in a laboratory medium and 49 strains were positive to this assay and cut off from the research. The remaining 50 strains were characterized for their enzymatic traits (β-glucosidase, catalase, pectolytic, xylanolytic, and lipolytic activities) and for their ability to grow at different temperatures, pHs, with salt or lactic/acetic acids added. Data were used for the evaluation of growth index and submitted to cluster and principal component analyses to choose the most promising 4 strains. In the final step of the research, the strains were inoculated as a cocktail in a model brine, containing different amounts of salt (4% to 12%) and glucose (0% to 3%), and adjusted to different pHs (4.0 to 9.0). Data analysis through a multiple regression procedure highlighted that salt, glucose, and pH acted in a different way within the storage and NaCl affected yeast growth only for few days, and then glucose and pH played a major role.

Practical Application Olive fermentation relies upon a complex microflora, including lactic acid bacteria and yeasts; the selection of suitable strains of yeasts intended as starter cultures, as well as their inoculation in brines, could improve the fermentation.