Changes in chemical and microbiological parameters of some varieties of Sicily olives during natural fermentation


  • Marco Poiana Department of “Biotecnologie per il Monitoraggio Agro-alimentare ed Ambientale” (BIOMAA). Università Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria
  • Flora V. Romeo Department of “Biotecnologie per il Monitoraggio Agro-alimentare ed Ambientale” (BIOMAA). Università Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria



Acidity, Brining, Microbial growth, Phenols, Table olives


The changes and features of some olive cultivars during natural fermentation in brine were examined. The cultivars were typical of Sicily: “Nocellara messinese”, “Nocellara etnea”, “Moresca”, “Ogliarola” and “Tonda iblea”. The carpological data revealed their good quality. Chemical characteristics such as reducing sugars, titratable acidity, total phenols and dry matter were also investigated. The physical and chemical changes of olives and brines throughout the process time were monitored. Sodium chloride concentration was gradually increased from 5% (w/v) to 6% after 60-75 days and 7% after 90. The olives were put in brine acidified up to pH = 4. The salt concentration and pH value were necessary to favor lactic fermentation. An uniform trend of pH was measured for all the olive cultivars: a stable pH under 4.5 value was measured. The course of titratable acidity measured in fermentation brines was in  agreement with the pH trend. The concentration of total phenols in flesh olives through the brine storage and fermentation is reported and the reduction of total phenols during the brine fermentation was fast in “Tonda iblea”, “Nocellara etnea” and “Moresca” olives.To measure the degree of oleuropein disappearance, the course of hydroxytyrosol in brine was monitored. Throughout the brining period, the growth of microbial populations was revealed on selective media: lactic acid bacteria, mesophilic microorganisms, yeasts and moulds.


Download data is not yet available.


Amiot MJ, Fleuriet A, Macheix JJ. 1986. Importance and evolution of phenolic compounds in olive during growth and maturation. J Agric Food Chem 34, 823- 826.

Brighigna A. 1998. Valutazione commerciale delle olive da tavola in Brighigna A. (Ed.) Le olive da tavola: Varietà, lavorazioni, legislazione, impiantistica e analitica di controllo (Table olives: cultivars, processing, law, plants and analytical control), 55-60. Edagricole, Bologna.

Duran Quintana MC, Garcia Garcia P, Garrido Fernandez A. 1999. Establishment of conditions for green table olive fermentation at low temperature. Int J Food Microbiol 51, 133-143.

Garcia Garcia P, Duran Quintana MC, Brenes Balbuena M, Garrido Fernandez A. 1992. Lactic fermentation during storage of “Aloreña” cultivar untreated green table olives. J Appl Bacteriol 73, 324-330.

Garrido Fernández A, Fernández Díez MJ, Adams MR. 1997. Olives and table olives in Garrido Fernandez A, Fernandez Díez MJ, Adams MR. (Eds.) Table Olives: Production and Processing, 10-22, 289-367. Chapman and Hall, London.

IOOC (International Olive Oil Council) 2000. Catalogo mondiale delle varietà di Olivo (World catalogue of olive cultivars). International Olive Oil Council, Madrid. Leal-Sanchez MV, Ruiz-Barba JL, Sanchez AH, Rejano L, Jimenez-Diaz R, Garrido A. 2003. Fermentation profile and optimization of green olive fermentation using Lactobacillus plantarum LPCO10 as starter culture. Food Microbiol 20, 421-430.

Juven B, Henis Y. 1970. Studies on the microbial activity of olive phenolic compounds. J Appl Bacteriol 33, 721-732.

Marsilio V, Lanza B. 1998. Characterisation of an oleuropein degrading strain of Lactobacillus plantarum. Combined effects of compounds present in olive fermenting brines (phenols, glucose and NaCl) on bacterial activity. J Sci Food Agric 76, 520-524.

Piga A, Gambella F, Vacca V, Agabbio M. 2001. Response of three Sardinian olive cultivars to Greek-style processing. Ital J Food Sci 13, 29- 40.

Ruiz-Barba JL, Rios Sanchez JM, Fedraiani-Iriso C, Olias JM, Rios JL, Jimenez Diaz R. 1990. Bactericidal effect of phenolic compounds from green olives on Lactobacillus plantarum. Syst Appl Microbiol 13, 199-205.

Ruiz-Barba JL, Brenes-Balbuena M, Jiménez-Díaz R, García-García P, Garrido-Fernández A. 1993. Inhibition of Lactobacillus plantarum by polyphenols extracted from two different kinds of olive brine. J Appl Bacteriol 74, 15-19.




How to Cite

Poiana M, Romeo FV. Changes in chemical and microbiological parameters of some varieties of Sicily olives during natural fermentation. Grasas aceites [Internet]. 2006Dec.31 [cited 2024May20];57(4):402-8. Available from: