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 inagreement 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.
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