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J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2002 Jan;28(1):1-6.

Lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in kefir grains and kefir made from them.

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Laboratory of Applied Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 26 Maritza Boulevard, 4002 Plovdiv, Bulgaria.


In an investigation of the changes in the microflora along the pathway: kefir grains (A)-->kefir made from kefir grains (B)-->kefir made from kefir as inoculum (C), the following species of lactic acid bacteria (83-90%) of the microbial count in the grains) were identified: Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus casei subsp. pseudoplantarum and Lactobacillus brevis. Yeasts (10-17%) identified were Kluyveromyces marxianus var. lactis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida inconspicua and Candida maris. In the microbial population of kefir grains and kefir made from them the homofermentative lactic streptococci (52-65% and 79-86%, respectively) predominated. Within the group of lactobacilli, the homofermentative thermophilic species L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and L. helveticus (70-87% of the isolated bacilli) predominated. Along the pathway A-->B-->C, the streptococcal proportion in the total kefir microflora increased by 26-30% whereas the lactobacilli decreased by 13-23%. K. marxianus var. lactis was permanently present in kefir grains and kefirs, whereas the dominant lactose-negative yeast in the total yeast flora of the kefir grains dramatically decreased in kefir C.

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