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Int J Food Microbiol. 2003 Feb 15;80(3):201-10.

Isolation, characterisation and identification of lactic acid bacteria from bushera: a Ugandan traditional fermented beverage.

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  • 1Department of Food Science and Technology, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.


One hundred and thirteen strains of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were selected from 351 isolates from 15 samples of traditionally fermented household bushera from Uganda and also from laboratory-prepared bushera. Isolates were phenotypically characterised by their ability to ferment 49 carbohydrates using API 50 CHL kits and additional biochemical tests. Coliforms, yeasts and LAB were enumerated in bushera. The pH, volatile organic compounds and organic acids were also determined. The LAB counts in household bushera varied between 7.1 and 9.4 log cfu ml(-1). The coliform counts varied between < 1 and 5.2 log cfu ml(-1). The pH of bushera ranged from 3.7 to 4.5. Ethanol (max, 0.27%) was the major volatile organic compound while lactic acid (max, 0.52%) was identified as the dominant organic acid in household bushera. The initial numbers of LAB and coliforms in laboratory-fermented bushera were similar; however, the LAB numbers increased faster during the first 24 h. LAB counts increased from 5.5 to 9.0 log cfu ml(-1) during the laboratory fermentation. Coliform counts increased from 5.9 to 7.8 log cfu ml(-1) at 24 h, but after 48 h, counts were less 4 log cfu ml(-1). Yeasts increased from 4.3 to 7.7 log cfu ml(-1) at 48 h, but thereafter decreased slightly. The pH declined from 7.0 to around 4.0. Lactic acid and ethanol increased from zero to 0.75% and 0.20%, respectively. Lactic acid bacteria isolated from household bushera belonged to Lactobacillus, Streptococcus and Enterococcus genera. Tentatively, Lactobacillus isolates were identified as Lactobacillus plantarum, L. paracasei subsp. paracasei, L. fermentum, L. brevis and L. delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii. Streptococcus thermophilus strains were also identified in household bushera. LAB isolated from bushera produced in the laboratory belonged to five genera (Lactococcus, Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, Weissella and Enterococcus. Eight isolates were able to produce acid from starch and were identified as Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis (four strains), Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides (one strain), Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. dextranicum (one strain), Weissella confusa (one strain) and L. plantarum (one strain).

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