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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2003;84(4):247-53.

Novel Leuconostoc citreum starter culture system for the fermentation of kimchi, a fermented cabbage product.

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Department of Biology, Inha University, Inchon 402-751, Republic of Korea.


To determine the dominant microorganisms involved in kimchi fermentation and to examine their effect on kimchi fermentation, we randomly isolated and characterized 120 lactic acid bacteria from kimchi during a 5-day fermentation at 15 degrees C. Leuconostoc citreum was dominant during the early and mid-phases of kimchi fermentation whereas Lactobacillus sake/Lactobacillus curvatus or Lactobacillus brevis were found during later stages. Eighty-two out of 120 isolates (68%) were identified as Leuconostoc citreum by means of a polyphasic method, including 16S rDNA sequencing and DNA/DNA hybridization. A few Weissella confusa-like strains were also isolated during the mid-phase of the fermentation. Strain IH22, one of the Leuconostoc citreum isolates from kimchi, was used as an additive to evaluate growth and acid production in kimchi fermentation. This strain was consistently over 95% of the population in IH22-treated kimchi over a 5-day fermentation, while heterogeneous lactic acid bacteria were observed in the control kimchi. The pH in IH22-treated kimchi dropped rapidly but was stably maintained for 5 days, compared to its slow and prolonged decrease in the control kimchi. These results indicate that Leuconostoc citreum IH22 dominates over and retards the growth of other lactic acid bacteria in kimchi, suggesting it can be used as a bacterial starter culture to maintain the quality of kimchi for prolonged periods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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