Use of Lactobacillus plantarum and glucose to control the fermentation of "Bella di Cerignola" table olives, a traditional variety of Apulian region (Southern Italy).
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of Lactobacillus plantarum, isolated from table olives "Bella di Cerignola," a traditional variety of Apulian region (Southern Italy), as a starter for this kind of food. We focused on the interaction of the starter with the natural occurring microflora, the quantitative/qualitative composition of yeast population, the decrease of pH, and the content of organic acids. After a preliminary characterization, 3 strains of Lb. plantarum, selected for their probiotic and technological performances, were used as a multiple-strain starter and inoculated (approximately 2%) in olives, processed according to Spanish style, brined at 8% and 10% of NaCl and added with 0.5% of glucose. The combination of the starter and glucose assured a correct fermentation course, decreasing the pH up to a safe value (4.3 to 4.5) and controlled the growth of yeasts. The concentrations of both L- and D-lactic acids increased throughout the fermentation, while citric and malic acids (both the isomers D and L) remained at low levels (0.2 to 0.4 g/L). Concerning yeast species, Candida guilliermondii was mainly isolated at the beginning (7 to 14 d), while C. famata prevailed at the end of fermentation. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: To the question "How to standardize and maintain quality of "Bella di Cerignola" olives (Southern Italy)" we can suggest the following answer: use Lb. plantarum and a low amount of glucose (0.5%). The result is a decrease of the pH below the safety break point.