In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in identifying and characterizing the yeast populations associated with diverse types of table olive elaborations because of the many desirable technological properties of these microorganisms. In this work, a total of 199 yeast isolates were directly obtained from industrial green table olive fermentations and genetically identified by means of a RFLP analysis of the 5.8S-ITS region and sequencing of the D1/D2 domains of the 26S rDNA gene. Candida diddensiae, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Pichia membranifaciens were the most abundant yeast species isolated from directly brined Alore?a olives, while for Gordal and Manzanilla cultivars they were Candida tropicalis, Pichia galeiformis and Wickerhamomyces anomalus. In the case of Gordal and Manzanilla green olives processed according to the Spanish style, the predominant yeasts were Debaryomyces etchellsii, C. tropicalis, P. galeiformis and Kluyveromyces lactis. Biochemical activities of technological interest were then qualitatively determined for isolates belonging to all yeast species. This preliminary screening identified two isolates of W. anomalus with interesting properties, such as a strong ?-glucosidase and esterase activity, and a moderate catalase and lipolytic activity, which were also confirmed by quantitative assays. The results obtained in this survey show the potential use that some yeast species could have as starters, alone or in combination with lactic acid bacteria, during olive processing.
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