Development and potential of starter lactobacilli resulting from exploration of the sourdough ecosystem
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Lactic acid bacteria are widely used as starter organisms in food fermentations. The development of such cultures as organisms fulfilling all metabolic, technical and handling requirements is the result of a multidisciplinary approach, i.e. to analyse, follow and direct the microbial ecology in food fermentations by molecular biology tools, gene cloning, biochemical and physiological analyses, pilot trials and modelling of behaviour and metabolism. The possibilities and restrictions of such an approach is given for cereal fermentations, namely sourdoughs. In this environment highly adapted lactobacilli are predominant, sharing the environment with yeasts present in traditional preparations. The competitiveness of these lactobacilli and their contribution to flavour, machineability and prebiosis of doughs and bread relies on their maltose and amino acid metabolism, use of electron acceptors and EPS formation. Their reactions on environmental stresses can be used to embed these recalcitrant organisms into starter culture preparations. Beyond the cereal environment the described strategy can be generally applied to understand ecosystems in food fermentations and finally control them.
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