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Food Microbiol. 2013 Jun;34(2):277-83. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 Nov 16.

Taxonomic and molecular characterization of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in nunu, a Ghanaian fermented milk product.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.


Produced from raw unpasteurized milk, nunu is a spontaneously fermented yoghurt-like product made in Ghana and other parts of West Africa. Despite the importance of nunu in the diet of many Africans, there is currently only limited information available on the microorganisms associated with nunu processing. With the aim of obtaining a deeper understanding of the process and as a first step towards developing starter cultures with desired technological properties for nunu production, a microbiological characterization of nunu processing in three different towns in the Upper East region of Ghana, namely Bolgatanga, Paga and Navrongo, was carried out. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeasts associated with nunu processing were isolated and identified using a combination of pheno- and genotypic methods including morphological and carbohydrate fermentation tests, (GTG)5-based rep-PCR, multiplex PCR, and 16S and 26S rRNA gene sequencing. The LAB counts during nunu processing increased from 4.5 ± 0.4 log cfu/ml at 0 h to 8.7 ± 1.8 log cfu/ml at 24 h of fermentation while yeasts counts increased from 2.8 ± 1.2 log cfu/ml at 0 h to 5.8 ± 0.5 log cfu/ml by the end of fermentation. Lactobacillus fermentum was the dominant LAB throughout the fermentations with Lactobacillus plantarum and Leuconostoc mesenteroides playing prominent roles during the first 6-8 h of fermentation as well. Less frequently isolated LAB included Lactobacillus helveticus, Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus italicus, Weissella confusa and a putatively novel Lactococcus spp. The yeasts involved were identified as Candida parapsilosis, Candida rugosa, Candida tropicalis, Galactomyces geotrichum, Pichia kudriavzevii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae with P. kudriavzevii and S. cerevisiae being the dominant yeast species.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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