Yeasts are unicellular eukaryotic microorganisms isolated from many foods, and are commonly found in table olive processing where they can play a double role. On one hand, these microorganisms can produce spoilage of fruits due to the production of bad odours and flavours, the accumulation of CO(2) leading to swollen containers, the clouding of brines, the softening of fruits and the degradation of lactic acid, which is especially harmful during table olive storage and packaging. But on the other hand, fortunately, yeasts also possess desirable biochemical activities (lipase, esterase, beta-glucosidase, catalase, production of killer factors, etc.) with important technological applications in this fermented vegetable. Recently, the probiotic potential of olive yeasts has begun to be evaluated because many species are able to resist the passage through the gastrointestinal tract and show beneficial effects on the host. In this way, yeasts may improve consumers' health by decreasing cholesterol levels, inhibiting pathogens, degrading non assimilated compounds, producing antioxidants and vitamins, adhering to intestinal cells or by maintaining epithelial barrier integrity. Many yeast species, usually also found in table olive processing, such as Wicherhamomyces anomalus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Pichia membranifaciens and Kluyveromyces lactis, have been reported to exhibit some of these properties. Thus, the selection of the most appropriate strains to be used as starters, alone or in combination with lactic acid bacteria, is a promising research line to develop in a near future which might improve the added value of the commercialized product.CI - Copyright (c) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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