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Int J Food Microbiol. 2008 Dec 10;128(2):395-400. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2008.09.004. Epub 2008 Sep 16.

Enzyme activities of lactic acid bacteria from a pearl millet fermented gruel (ben-saalga) of functional interest in nutrition.

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IRSAT, Département Technologie Alimentaire, 03 BP 7047 Ouagadougou 03 Burkina Faso.


Lactic acid bacteria responsible for the fermentation of a pearl-millet based fermented gruel, ben-saalga, were investigated for enzyme activity in relation with the nutritional characteristics of gruels used as complementary foods for young children. Thirty pre-selected LAB from a set of 155 isolates were characterized principally for their ability to produce amylase, phytase and alpha-galactosidase. Two Lactobacillus plantarum strains (4.4 and 6.1) and three Lactobacillus fermentum strains (11.11.2, 3.7, 7.4) able to produce one or more of these enzymes were selected. Only weak amylase activity was found in the two Lactobacillus plantarum strains. alpha-amylase activity was associated with cells and was lower than 0.05 Ceralpha Units/ml. Phytase activity was detected in all five strains and was linked to the cell. The highest phytase activity was found in Lb. plantarum 4.4 and 6.1 (348.7 +/- 17.4U/ml and 276.3 +/- 51.4U/ml, respectively) and Lb. fermentum 7.4. (276.3 +/- 13.2U/ml). All strains displayed a cell-linked alpha-galactosidase activity. In a medium containing 2% glucose, the highest cellular activity was found in Lb. fermentum 3.7 (1441.1 +/- 133.7U/ml) and Lb. plantarum 4.4 (1223.1 +/- 148.3U/ml) after 6h of fermentation in the presence of stachyose, and in Lb. plantarum 4.4 (763.3 +/- 23.5U/ml) and Lb. fermentum 7.4 (346.7 +/- 14.8U/ml) after 24h of fermentation with raffinose. These results are consistent with previous observations showing that phytates and alpha-galactooligosaccharides decreased during the natural lactic acid fermentation of pearl millet slurries, and that partial starch hydrolysis can be performed by endogenous microflora provided a pre-gelatinisation step is included in the process.

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