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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Dec;68(12):6059-69.

The biodiversity of lactic acid bacteria in Greek traditional wheat sourdoughs is reflected in both composition and metabolite formation.

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  • 1Research Group of Industrial Microbiology, Fermentation Technology and Downstream Processing (IMDO), Department of Applied Biological Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium.


Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were isolated from Greek traditional wheat sourdoughs manufactured without the addition of baker's yeast. Application of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of total cell protein, randomly amplified polymorphic DNA-PCR, DNA-DNA hybridization, and 16S ribosomal DNA sequence analysis, in combination with physiological traits such as fructose fermentation and mannitol production, allowed us to classify the isolated bacteria into the species Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus paralimentarius, and Weissella cibaria. This consortium seems to be unique for the Greek traditional wheat sourdoughs studied. Strains of the species W. cibaria have not been isolated from sourdoughs previously. No Lactobacillus pontis or Lactobacillus panis strains were found. An L. brevis-like isolate (ACA-DC 3411 t1) could not be identified properly and might be a new sourdough LAB species. In addition, fermentation capabilities associated with the LAB detected have been studied. During laboratory fermentations, all heterofermentative sourdough LAB strains produced lactic acid, acetic acid, and ethanol. Mannitol was produced from fructose that served as an additional electron acceptor. In addition to glucose, almost all of the LAB isolates fermented maltose, while fructose as the sole carbohydrate source was fermented by all sourdough LAB tested except L. sanfranciscensis. Two of the L. paralimentarius isolates tested did not ferment maltose; all strains were homofermentative. In the presence of both maltose and fructose in the medium, induction of hexokinase activity occurred in all sourdough LAB species mentioned above, explaining why no glucose accumulation was found extracellularly. No maltose phosphorylase activity was found either. These data produced a variable fermentation coefficient and a unique sourdough metabolite composition.

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