Annals of Microbiology

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 29–40 | Cite as

Microbiological analysis and assessment of biotechnological potential of lactic acid bacteria isolated from Tunisian flours

  • Insaf Nachi
  • Imene Fhoula
  • Imene Smida
  • Hadda-Imene OuzariEmail author
  • Mnasser Hassouna
Original Article


This work was carried out to identify lactic acid bacteria (LAB) from baking wheat flours and to evaluate their technological capabilities for potential incorporation in sourdough process. Six samples of wheat flours obtained from different geographical regions of Tunisia were microbiologically analyzed. Several technological features including acidification, antimicrobial, amylolytic, proteolytic, and antioxidant activities of six selected LAB strains were investigated for future in situ applications. Moreover, LAB were investigated for their ability to produce exopolysaccharides. A total of 45 autochthonous LAB were isolated and identified by genetic analysis of 16S–23S rRNA intergenic transcribed spacer (ITS)-generated patterns ITS-PCR. One of each ITS-PCR pattern was subjected to partial 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and strains were identified as Weissella cibaria, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis, Pediococcus pentosaceus, Pediococcus pentoseus, Pediococcus acidilactici, Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus casseliflavus, and Enterococcus faecalis. All tested LAB showed good acidifying ability by decreasing significantly (p < 0.05) the pH of flour extract below 4.0 after 24 h and below 3.0 after 72 h. Pediococcus pentoseus and P. acidilactici presented fermentation quotient (FQ, ratio of lactic and acetic acids) close to the optimal range. All LAB isolates demonstrated extracellular proteolytic activity. Weissella cibaria S25 had the highest radical-scavenging activity with 25.57%. Lactobacillus plantarum S28 demonstrated the highest amylolytic activity (1386 U/mL) followed by P. acidilactici S16 (1086 U/mL). Although, L. plantarum S28 showed the highest production of exopolysaccharides (0.97 g/L). Moreover, varying halo of inhibition was detected against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Aspergillus niger, and Penicillium expansum. This study revealed that autochthonous flour LAB had interesting technological features and thus could be used in sourdough production.


Baking flour Lactic acid bacteria Acidification Proteolytic Amylolytic Antimicrobial activity 



Aurelie sauvager (CORINT, UMR CNRS ISCR 6226, UFR Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques, Université Rennes 1, France) is acknowledged for her technical help.


This work was supported by the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (LR10CBBC02).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Statement of informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature and the University of Milan 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Insaf Nachi
    • 1
  • Imene Fhoula
    • 2
  • Imene Smida
    • 3
  • Hadda-Imene Ouzari
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mnasser Hassouna
    • 1
  1. 1.UR13AGR02 Unité de bio-conservation et valorisation des produits alimentaires, Université de CarthageEcole Supérieure des Industries AlimentairesTunisTunisie
  2. 2.LR03ES03 Laboratoire Microorganismes et Biomolecules Actives, Université de Tunis El ManarFaculté des Science de TunisTunisTunisie
  3. 3.INSERM U1241/Nutrition Metabolism Cancer/CIMIADUniversité de RennesRennesFrance

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