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Food Microbiology
Volume 82, 2019, Pages 259-268

Microbial biogeography of Spanish-style green olive fermentations in the province of Seville, Spain

Helena Lucena-Padrós, José LuisRuiz-Barba

Departamento de Biotecnología de Alimentos, Instituto de la Grasa, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Campus Universitario, Edificio 46; Carretera de Utrera, Km 1, 41013, Sevilla, Spain.


The aim of this study is to examine the biogeography of the microbial communities associated to the Spanish-style green olive fermentations in the province of Seville (Andalucía, south-western Spain). Also, to understand how microorganisms colonize and persist in non-sterile food fermentations across a specific table olive producing area, i.e. a specific “agroecosystem”. The microbial diversity, bacteria and yeast, in 30 ten-ton fermenters of three different fermentations yards (patios) along the olive fermentation was studied. A total of 951 microbial isolates were obtained which were clustered according to their RAPD profile. A total of 376 distinct genotypes were identified, belonging to 57 different microbial species, 41 bacterial and 16 yeast species. Up to 16 bacterial species had not been described before in table olives. Only the species Lactobacillus pentosus showed a ubiquitous presence in all 30 fermenters. Pediococcus parvulus, Lactobacillus collinoides/paracollinoides, Lactobacillus coryniformis, Lactobacillus plantarum, Pichia manshurica and Candida thaimueangensis were found in every patio. Cosmopolitan strains, up to 15, were shared by the three patios and belonged to the species L. pentosus (12 strains), P. parvulus (1), L. collinoides/paracollinoides (1) and P. manshurica (1). To expand our biodiversity analyses to the “regional” level, we have compared our results with those obtained from two previously studied patios of similar characteristics and in the same geographical area. PERMANOVA analysis of the microbial community composition revealed significant differences among different patios in their structure at every fermentation stage. In contrast, SIMPER analyses showed that, as fermentation progressed, the overall dissimilarities among patios were reduced. Discriminant species were identified for each fermentation stage. Among these, L. pentosus and P. parvulus were “eu-constant” species, while L. collinides/paracollinoides and Marinilactibacillus psychrotolerans group were “constant” species that could be considered microbial key taxa based on the occurrence stability index. The characteristic and, presumably, well adapted microbiota associated to the Spanish-style olive fermentations at the specific geographic area described here is a valuable natural resource which should be preserved conveniently. To our knowledge, this is the first study on the microbial biogeography of table olive fermentations, both at the species and strain levels.

Keywords: Table olives, Fermentation, Ecology, Microbiota, Biodiversity, Biogeography.

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