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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Apr;77(8):2716-26. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02470-10. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Influence of temperature and backslopping time on the microbiota of a type I propagated laboratory wheat sourdough fermentation.

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Research Group of Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology, Faculty of Sciences and Bio-engineering Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.


Sourdough fermentation is a cereal fermentation that is characterized by the formation of stable yeast/lactic acid bacteria (LAB) associations. It is a unique process among food fermentations in that the LAB that mostly dominate these fermentations are heterofermentative. In the present study, four wheat sourdough fermentations were carried out under different conditions of temperature and backslopping time to determine their effect on the composition of the microbiota of the final sourdoughs. A substantial effect of temperature was observed. A fermentation with 10 backsloppings (once every 24 h) at 23°C resulted in a microbiota composed of Leuconostoc citreum as the dominant species, whereas fermentations at 30 and 37°C with backslopping every 24 h resulted in ecosystems dominated by Lactobacillus fermentum. Longer backslopping times (every 48 h at 30°C) resulted in a combination of Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus plantarum. Residual maltose remained present in all fermentations, except those with longer backslopping times, and ornithine was found in almost all fermentations, indicating enhanced sourdough-typical LAB activity. The sourdough-typical species Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis was not found. Finally, a nonflour origin for this species was hypothesized.

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