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Optimisation olive debittering by oleuropein oxidation

AuthorsBrenes Balbuena, Manuel ; Ramírez, Eva ; García García, Pedro ; Romero, Concepción
Table olives
Issue Date13-Oct-2015
CitationEuro Food Chem XVIII (2015)
AbstractTable olives have been a component of the Mediterranean diet for centuries and their consumption is increasing worldwide because of their nutritional and palatable characteristics. The raw olive drupe is inedible because of its high content in a bitter glucoside named oleuropein, which is hydrolyzed under alkaline conditions during the two most popular methods of preparing table olives, the Spanish-style green olives and the California-style black olives. Moreover, natural olives are those that do not suffer the alkaline treatment but lose their bitterness slowly for months due to the acid hydrolysis of the oleuropein (1). Recently, a new and rapid method to debitter olives has been proposed, which is based on the oxidation of the oleuropein (2). However, this method has failed in some cases and a study has been carried out to optimize this new process. Olives preserved in acidified brine into industrial tanks were maintained under oxygen overpressure for several days and the phenolic content was analyzed. The reduction in olives of the oleuropein concentration ranged from 30 to 100 %, being lower as the storage time in tanks progressed. As it has been previously reported (2), the enzyme polyphenoloxidase catalyzes the oxidation reaction of oleuropein giving rise to non-bitter products. Likewise, the activity of this enzyme is highly reduced in preserved olives (3). Hence, it was hypothesized that the debittering must be carried out soon after brining of olives. New oxidation experiments were performed with olives stored just only one month in the acidified brines and the reduction of oleuropein concentration in fruit reached 90-95 %. These results open the possibility of debittering natural olives in just a few days instead of months without the use of sodium hydroxide, which is not allowed for organic table olives in many countries.
Appears in Collections:(IG) Comunicaciones congresos
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