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Int J Food Microbiol. 1999 Dec 1;53(1):33-41.

Improved screening procedure for biogenic amine production by lactic acid bacteria.

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Department of Nutrition and Food Science-CeRTA, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, Spain.


An improved screening plate method for the detection of amino acid decarboxylase-positive microorganisms (especially lactic acid bacteria) was developed. The suitability and detection level of the designed medium were quantitatively evaluated by confirmation of amine-forming capacity using an HPLC procedure. The potential to produce the biogenic amines (BA) tyramine, histamine, putrescine, and cadaverine, was investigated in a wide number of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) of different origin, including starter cultures, protective cultures, type strains and strains isolated from different food products. Also, several strains of Enterobacteriaceae were examined. Modifications to previously described methods included lowering glucose and sodium chloride concentrations, and increasing the buffer effect with calcium carbonate and potassium phosphate. In addition, pyridoxal-5-phosphate was included as a codecarboxylase factor for its enhancing effect on the amino acid decarboxylase activity. The screening plate method showed a good correlation with the chemical analysis and due to its simplicity it is presented as a suitable and sensitive method to investigate the capacity of biogenic amine production by LAB. Tyramine was the main amine formed by the LAB strains investigated. Enterococci, carnobacteria and some strains of lactobacilli, particularly of Lb. curvatus. Lb. brevis and Lb. buchneri, were the most intensive tyramine formers. Several strains of lactobacilli, Leuconostoc spp., Weissella spp. and pediococci did not show any potential to produce amines. Enterobacteriaceae were associated with cadaverine and putrescine formation. No significant histamine production could be detected for any of the strains tested.

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