Physicochemical, microbiological, and organoleptic profiles of Greek table olives from retail outlets

J Food Prot. 2006 Jul;69(7):1732-8. doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-69.7.1732.


The physicochemical, microbiological, and organoleptic profile of different commercial table olive products from retail outlets was studied. Average pH values were 4.00, 3.96, and 4.31 for Spanish-style green, naturally black, and dry-salted olives, respectively, while salt content was 6.21, 7.34, and 8.00% for the same commercial products. Mean values for titratable acidity were 0.53 and 0.63% (wt/vol) for green and naturally black olives. In general, mean values for pH, titratable acidity, and salt content were in accordance with the requirements established by the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) for the trade of table olives, although considerable variation was observed within individual olive samples. Salt content of dry-salted olives did not meet the minimum limit of 10% established by the IOOC. The dominant microbiota consisted of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts. Their population was less than 10(9) CFU ml(-1), as stipulated by the IOOC standard for fermented olives held in bulk in a covering liquid. These microorganisms come from the natural microbiota found in spontaneous fermentations and impose no risk to human health. No enterobacteria, pseudomonads, Bacillus cereus, or Clostridium perfringens were detected in any of the samples given the physicochemical characteristics found. The organoleptic profile varied greatly according to processing style and commercial preparation. Green olives had more uniform sensory characteristics than naturally black and dry-salted olives. The most important attributes that influenced the judgment of the panelists were salt content and crispness of the olives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Food Handling / methods
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Lactobacillus / isolation & purification*
  • Olea* / chemistry
  • Olea* / microbiology
  • Quality Control
  • Taste
  • Yeasts / isolation & purification*