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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2005 Aug;28(6):527-40.

Diversity and technological properties of predominant lactic acid bacteria from fermented cassava used for the preparation of Gari, a traditional African food.

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Federal Research Centre for Nutrition, Institute of Hygiene and Toxicology, Haid-und-Neu-Strasse 9, D-76131 Karlsruhe, Germany.


Traditional fermentation of cassava is dominated by a lactic acid bacteria (LAB) population. Fermentation is important for improving product flavour and aroma as well as safety, especially by reduction of its toxic cyanogenic glucosides. The production of Gari from cassava in Benin typically occurs on a household or small industrial scale, and consequently suffers from inconsistent product quality and may not always be safe for consumption. Therefore, the diversity of LAB from a typical cassava fermentation for the preparation of Gari, and their technologically relevant characteristics were investigated with a view towards selection of appropriate starter cultures. A total of 139 predominant strains isolated from fermenting cassava were identified using phenotypic tests and genotypic methods such as rep-PCR and RAPD-PCR. DNA-DNA hybridisation and sequencing of the 16S rRNA genes were done for selected strains. Lactobacillus plantarum was the most abundantly isolated species (54.6% of isolates), followed by Leuconostoc fallax (22.3%) and Lactobacillus fermentum (18.0%). Lactobacillus brevis, Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides and Weissella paramesenteroides were sporadically isolated. The L. plantarum strains were shown to be better acid producers and capable of faster acid production than the L. fallax or L. fermentum strains. The incidence of beta-glucosidase (linamarase) activity was also highest among strains of this species. Production of antagonistic substances such as H2O2 and bacteriocins, however, was more common among L. fallax and L. fermentum strains. Strains of all three species were capable of utilising the indigestible sugars raffinose and stachyose. Therefore, a starter culture containing a mixture of strains from all three species was recommended.

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