Degradation of Pectic Polysaccharides in Pickled Green Olives

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The changes that occur in the pectic fractions in the cell wall of olives of the Manzanilla variety (Olea europaea pomiformis) during processing (initial treatment at high pH and subsequent lactic fermentation) have been researched. After studying various conditions for fractionating the pectic polysaccharides, the most adequate were chosen, involving sequential extraction with water, imidazole-hydrochloric acid buffer, sodium carbonate, 1 M potassium hydroxide, and 4 M potassium hydroxide. In the unprocessed fruit, the fractions studied consist mainly of high-molecular-weight acidic polysaccharides (70 to 250 kDa): homogalacturonans, rhamnogalacturonans, and branched arabinans. These were found in different proportions depending on the extraction agent used. At the same time, significant amounts of relatively low-molecular-weight (10 to 10.5 kDa) neutral branched arabinans were found in the water-soluble fraction. As a result of the processing, changes occurred in the proportions of the different groups of polysaccharides in accordance with changes in their solubility characteristics. These changes were reflected in the processed fruit by (i) an increase in the neutral branched arabinans in the water-soluble fraction due to the increased presence of such polysaccharides originally found in the carbonate and 4 M KOH-soluble fractions; (ii) an increase in homogalacturonans and rhamnogalacturonans, without significant changes in molecular weights, in the imidazole-soluble fraction as a result of the increased presence of corresponding polysaccharides originally found in the carbonate-soluble and water-soluble fractions; (iii) a substantial increase in uronic acids in the 1 M potassium hydroxide-soluble fraction, preferentially as low-molecular-weight polysaccharides; and (iv) a solubilization of arabinans in the 4 M potassium hydroxide-soluble fraction.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Departamento de Biotecnología de Alimentos, Instituto de la Grasa (CSIC), Apartado 1078, 41012 Sevilla, Spain

Publication date: January 1, 1998

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