Project title: Exploitation of olive fruit natural microflora for olive oil production of high quality (code B-836)
Project duration: 2006-2008
Budget: € 320.000
Foundation: Ministry of Development, General Secretariat for Research and Technology.
Sub-contractor: Ioannis G. Petrou

Short project description

This project aims to study olive’s natural microflora and the enzymes of microbial origin implicated in the biogenesis of oil flavor. Besides, the project intends to study olive oil mill wastewater treatment using genetically modified microorganisms (i.e. Yarrowia lipolytica).
During this project, members of the olive fruit natural microflora will be isolated and studied for their enzymatic capacities, so as to clarify which enzymes are implicated in aroma biogenesis. Biochemical and molecular analysis of these strains will be performed as well. As far as the enzymes are concerned, their stability and specificity, the conditions for their optimal activity and their final products will be studied, in detail. Production of these enzymes in bioreactor will be the next step trying to improve their production and extraction. Finally, these enzymes will be applied in large scale during olive oil production in order to enhance oil quality.

Concerning wastewater treatment, stains of Yarrowia lipolytica will be cultivated in bioreactors and the biomass produced will be used to degrease wastewaters in the evaporation pools, and therefore to accelerate evaporation. New methods of single cell oil production and oil recovering from olive oil wastewater will be developed.

Project aims

1) Improved oil production so as to increase olive oil quality
2) Fast evaporation of olive oil mill wastewater.