Journal of the science of food and agriculture

Production of 4-ethylphenol in alperujo by Lactobacillus pentosus.

PMID 25267118


Alperujo is the paste generated from the two-phase extraction system of olive oil. This wet pomace must be stored for several months and, during this period, the formation of 4-ethyphenol provokes a strong off-odour. The aim of this work was to identify the microorganisms able to produce this volatile phenol. Yeast and bacterial strains were isolated from stored alperujo and tested for their ability to metabolize p-coumaric acid and form 4-ethylphenol. Among them, Lactobacillus pentosus was the microorganism that both in synthetic medium and alperujo gave rise to 4-ethylphenol formation. This microorganism did not grow in alperujo acidified to pH 2, thereby confirming that acidification as the best method to control odour emissions during alperujo storage. Lactic acid bacteria, particularly Lactobacillus pentosus, can be responsible for the formation of the off-odour caused by 4-ethylphenol during the storage of alperujo. This odour can be prevented by acidifying the alperujo.