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Food Microbiol. 2009 Apr;26(2):128-35. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Nov 5.

Description of the microflora of sourdoughs by culture-dependent and culture-independent methods.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze degli Alimenti, Universit√† degli Studi di Udine, via Sondrio 2, 33100 Udine, Italy.


Four types of sourdoughs (L, C, B, Q) from artisanal bakeries in Northern Italy were studied using culture-dependent and culture-independent methods. In all samples, the yeast numbers ranged from 160 to 10(7)cfu/g, and the numbers of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) ranged from 10(3) to 10(9)cfu/g. The isolated LAB were sequenced, and a similarity was noted between two samples (C, Q), both in terms of the species that were present and in terms of the percentage of isolates. In these two samples, Lactobacillus plantarum accounted for 73% and 89% of the bacteria, and Lactobacillus brevis represented 27% and 11%. In the third sample (B), however, the dominant LAB isolate was Lb. brevis (73%), while Lb. plantarum accounted for only 27%. The fourth sourdough (L) was completely different from the others. In this sample, the most prominent isolate was Weisella cibaria (56%), followed by Lb. plantarum (36%) and Pediococcus pentosaceus (8%). In three out of four samples (L, C and Q), all of the yeasts isolated were identified as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, yet only Candida humilis (90%) and Candida milleri (10%) were isolated in the fourth sample (B). The microbial ecology of the sourdoughs was also examined with direct methods. The results obtained by culture-independent methods and DGGE analysis underline a partial correspondence between the DNA and RNA analysis. These results demonstrate the importance of using a combined analytical approach to explore the microbial communities of sourdoughs.

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