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Int J Food Microbiol. 2003 Feb 15;80(3):217-22.

Synthesis and utilisation of folate by yoghurt starter cultures and probiotic bacteria.

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Food Science Australia, Private Bag 16, Werribee, Victoria, 3030, Australia.


Thirty-two bacterial isolates from species commonly used in yoghurts and fermented milks were examined for their ability to synthesise or utilise folate during fermentation of skim milk. The organisms examined included the traditional yoghurt starter cultures, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, and probiotic lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, and Enterococcus faecium. Folate was synthesised by S. thermophilus, bifidobacteria, and E. faecium. S. thermophilus was the dominant producer, elevating folate levels in skim milk from 11.5 ng g(-1) to between 40 and 50 ng g(-1). Generally, lactobacilli depleted the available folate in the skim milk. Fermentations with mixed cultures showed that folate production and utilisation by the cultures was additive. Fermentations using a combination of Bifidobacterium animalis and S. thermophilus resulted in a six-fold increase in folate concentration. Although increased folate levels in yoghurts and fermented milks are possible through judicious selection of inoculum species, the folate levels remain relatively low in terms of recommended daily allowance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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