Bioconversion of ovine scotta into lactic acid with pure and mixed cultures of lactic acid bacteria
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Scotta is the main by-product in the making of ricotta cheese. It is widely produced in southern Europe and particularly in Italy where it represents a serious environmental pollutant due to its high lactose content. With the aim of evaluating whether scotta bioconversion into lactic acid can be considered as an alternative to its disposal, besides providing it with an added value, here the growth, fermentative performances, and lactic acid productions of pure and mixed cultures of Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus helveticus, and Streptococcus thermophilus were evaluated on ovine scotta-based media, without and with the addition of nutritional supplements. The outcomes indicate that ovine scotta can be utilized for the biotechnological production of lactic acid with yields up to 92%, comparable to those obtained on cheese-whey. Indeed, the addition of nutritional supplements generally improves the fermentative performances of lactic acid bacteria leading to about 2 g l−1 h−1 of lactic acid. Moreover, the use of mixed cultures for scotta bioconversion reduces the need for nutritional supplements, with no detrimental effects on the productive parameters compared to pure cultures. Finally, by using L. casei and S. thermophilus in pure and mixed cultures, up to 99% optically pure l-lactic acid can be obtained.
KeywordsScotta Whey Lactic acid bacteria Lactose bioconversion Lactic acid
This study was a part of the project “WHETLAC”, financed by the European Commission under contract No 222400. We also acknowledge the F.lli Pinna Industria Casearia for providing the ovine scotta and Dr. Elia Bonaglini for his support.
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