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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2004 Apr 15;233(2):289-95.

Production of phenyllactic acid by lactic acid bacteria: an approach to the selection of strains contributing to food quality and preservation.

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Institute of Sciences of Food Production, National Research Council, Viale Einaudi 51, 70125 Bari, Italy.


The ability of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to produce phenyllactic (PLA) and 4-hydroxy-phenyllactic (OH-PLA) acids, metabolites involved in food quality and preservation, has been evaluated by HPLC analysis in 29 LAB strains belonging to 12 species widely used in the production of fermented foods. Metabolite production was demonstrated for all strains of the species Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus alimentarius, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis, Lactobacillus hilgardii, Leuconostoc citreum, and for some strains of Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides. Strains were distinguished by analysis of variance in three groups including 15 strains that produced both metabolites (0.16-0.46 mM PLA and 0.07-0.29 mM OH-PLA), five strains accumulating in culture only PLA (0.17-0.57 mM) and nine non-producer strains (< or = 0.10 mM PLA and < or = 0.02 mM OH-PLA). Improvement of phenyllactic acid production was obtained in a selected L. plantarum strain by increasing the concentration of phenylalanine in culture and using low amounts of tyrosine.

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