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Int J Food Microbiol. 2009 Sep 30;135(1):53-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2009.07.006. Epub 2009 Jul 12.

Biodiversity of lactic acid bacteria in French wheat sourdough as determined by molecular characterization using species-specific PCR.

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Laboratoire de Biologie appliquée à l'Agroalimentaire et à l'Environnement , Département Génie Biologique, IUT-Université Paul Sabatier, Auch, France.


The lactic acid microflora of nine traditional wheat sourdoughs from the Midi-Pyrénées area (South western France) was previously isolated and preliminary characterized using conventional morphological and biochemical analysis. However, such phenotypic methods alone are not always reliable and have a low taxonomic resolution for identification of lactic acid bacteria species. In the present study, a total of 290 LAB isolates were identified by PCR amplification using different sets of specific primers in order to provide a thorough characterization of the lactic flora from these traditional French sourdoughs. Overall, the LAB isolates belonged to 6 genera: Lactobacillus (39%, 8 species), Pediococcus (38%, 1 species), Leuconostoc (17%, 2 species), Weissella (4%, 2 species), Lactococcus (1%, 1 species) and Enterococcus (<1%, 1 species) and 15 different species were detected: L. plantarum, L. curvatus, L. paracasei, L. sanfranciscensis, L. pentosus, L. paraplantarum, L. sakei, L. brevis, P. pentosaceus, L. mesenteroides, L. citreum, W. cibaria, W. confusa, L. lactis and E. hirae. Facultative heterofermentative LAB represent more than 76% of the total isolates, the main species isolated herein correspond to L. plantarum and P. pentosaceus. Obligate heterofermentative lactobacilli (L. sanfranciscencis, L. brevis) represent less than 3% of the total isolates whereas Leuconostoc and Weissella species represent 21% of the total isolates and have been detected in eight of the nine samples. Detection of some LAB species was preferentially observed depending on the isolation culture medium. The number of different species within a sourdough varies from 3 to 7 and original associations of hetero- and homofermentative LAB species have been revealed. Results from this study clearly confirm the diversity encountered in the microbial community of traditional sourdough and highlight the importance of LAB cocci in the sourdough ecosystem, along with lactobacilli.

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