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Int J Food Microbiol. 2010 Jun 30;141(1-2):73-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2010.04.011. Epub 2010 Apr 18.

Functional fermented whey-based beverage using lactic acid bacteria.

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Centro de Referencia para Lactobacilos (CERELA)-CONICET, Chacabuco 145, 4000 San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina.


Whey protein concentrate (WPC) is employed as functional food ingredient because of its nutritional value and emulsifying properties. However, the major whey protein beta-lactoglobulin (BLG) is the main cause of milk allergy. The aim of this study was to formulate a fermented whey beverage using selected lactic acid bacteria and WPC35 (WPC containing 35% of proteins) to obtain a fermented product with low lactose and BLG contents and high essential amino acid concentration. Cell viability, lactose consumption, lactic acid production, proteolytic activity, amino acid release and BLG degradation by the selected strains Lactobacillus acidophilus CRL 636, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus CRL 656 and Streptococcus thermophilus CRL 804, as single or mixed (SLaB) cultures were evaluated in WPC35 (10%, w/v) incubated at 37 degrees C for 24h. Then, the fermented WPC35 was mixed with peach juice and calcium lactate (2%, w/v) and stored at 10 degrees C for 28 days. During fermentation, single cultures grew 1.7-3.1 log CFU/ml and produced 25.1-95.0 mmol/l of lactic acid as consequence of lactose consumption (14.0-41.8 mmol/l) after 12h fermentation. L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus CRL 656 was the most proteolytic strain (626 microg/ml Leu) and released the branched-chain essential amino acids Leu (16 microg/ml), Ile (27 microg/ml) and Val (43 microg/ml). All strains were able to degrade BLG in a range of 41-85% after 12h incubation. The starter culture SLaB grew 3.0 log CFU/ml, showed marked pH reduction, produced 122.0 mmol/l of lactic acid, displayed high proteolytic activity (484 microg/ml Leu) releasing Leu (13 microg/ml), Ile (18 microg/ml) and Val (35 microg/ml), and hydrolyzed 92% of BLG. The addition of calcium lactate to WPC35 maintained the drink pH stable during shelf life; no contamination was detected during this period. After 28 days, a decrease in cell viability of all strains was observed being more pronounced for L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus CRL 656 and L. acidophilus CRL 636 (2.3 and 1.9 log CFU/ml, respectively). The results showed that WPC fermentation by rationally selected lactic acid bacteria might be used for developing functional beverages with improved characteristics such as reduced BLG content and increased branched-chain essential amino acids.

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