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Int J Food Microbiol. 2007 Mar 20;114(3):342-51. Epub 2006 Dec 26.

Characterisation and biochemical properties of predominant lactic acid bacteria from fermenting cassava for selection as starter cultures.

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


A total of 375 lactic acid bacteria were isolated from fermenting cassava in South Africa, Benin, Kenya and Germany, and were characterised by phenotypic and genotypic tests. These could be divided into five main groups comprising strains of facultatively heterofermentative rods, obligately heterofermentative rods, heterofermentative cocci, homofermentative cocci and obligately homofermentative rods, in decreasing order of predominance. Most of the facultatively heterofermentative rods were identified by phenotypic tests as presumptive Lactobacillus plantarum-group strains, which also comprised the most predominant bacteria (54.4% of strains) isolated in the study. The next predominant group of lactic acid bacteria (14.1% of total isolates) consisted of obligately heterofermentative rods belonging either to the genus Lactobacillus or Weissella, followed by the heterofermentative cocci (13.9% of isolates) belonging to the genera Weissella or Leuconostoc. Homofermentative cocci were also isolated (13.3% of isolates). Biochemical properties such as production of alpha-amylase, beta-glucosidase, tannase, antimicrobials (presumptive bacteriocin and H(2)O(2)-production), acidification and fermentation of the indigestible sugars raffinose and stachyose, were evaluated in vitro for selection of potential starter strains. A total of 32 strains with one or more desirable biochemical properties were pre-selected and identified using rep-PCR fingerprinting in combination with 16S rRNA sequencing of representative rep-PCR cluster isolates. Of these strains, 18 were identified as L. plantarum, four as Lactobacillus pentosus, two each as Leuconostoc fallax, Weissella paramesenteroides and Lactobacillus fermentum, one each as Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides and Weissella cibaria, while two remained unidentified but could be assigned to the L. plantarum-group. These strains were further investigated for clonal relationships, using RAPD-PCR with three primers, and of the 32 a total of 16 strains were finally selected for the development as starter cultures for Gari production.

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