Latest Research on Lactic Acid Bacteria : Mar 2022

Biopreservation by lactic acid bacteria

Biopreservation refers to extended storage life and enhanced safety of foods using the natural microflora and (or) their antibacterial products. Lactic acid bacteria have a major potential for use in biopreservation because they are safe to consume and during storage they naturally dominate the microflora of many foods. In milk, brined vegetables, many cereal products and meats with added carbohydrate, the growth of lactic acid bacteria produces a new food product. In raw meats and fish that are chill stored under vacuum or in an environment with elevated carbon dioxide concentration, the lactic acid bacteria become the dominant population and preserve the meat with a ‘hidden’ fermentation. The same applies to processed meats provided that the lactic acid bacteria survive the heat treatment or they are inoculated onto the product after heat treatment. This paper reviews the current status and potential for controlled biopreservation of foods.[1]

Heteropolysaccharides from lactic acid bacteria

Microbial exopolysaccharides are biothickeners that can be added to a wide variety of food products, where they serve as viscosifying, stabilizing, emulsifying or gelling agents. Numerous exopolysaccharides with different composition, size and structure are synthesized by lactic acid bacteria. The heteropolysaccharides from both mesophilic and thermophilic lactic acid bacteria have received renewed interest recently. Structural analysis combined with rheological studies revealed that there is considerable variation among the different exopolysaccharides; some of them exhibit remarkable thickening and shear-thinning properties and display high intrinsic viscosities. Hence, several slime-producing lactic acid bacterium strains and their biopolymers have interesting functional and technological properties, which may be exploited towards different products, in particular, natural fermented milks. However, information on the biosynthesis, molecular organization and fermentation conditions is rather scarce, and the kinetics of exopolysaccharide formation are poorly described. Moreover, the production of exopolysaccharides is low and often unstable, and their downstream processing is difficult. This review particularly deals with microbiological, biochemical and technological aspects of heteropolysaccharides from, and their production by, lactic acid bacteria. The chemical composition and structure, the biosynthesis, genetics and molecular organization, the nutritional and physiological aspects, the process technology, and both food additive and in situ applications (in particular in yogurt) of heterotype exopolysaccharides from lactic acid bacteria are described. Where appropriate, suggestions are made for strain improvement, enhanced productivities and advanced modification and production processes (involving enzyme and/or fermentation technology) that may contribute to the economic soundness of applications with this promising group of biomolecules.[2]

The proteotytic systems of lactic acid bacteria

Proteolysis in dairy lactic acid bacteria has been studied in great detail by genetic, biochemical and ultrastructural methods. From these studies the picture emerges that the proteolytic systems of lactococci and lactobacilli are remarkably similar in their components and mode of action. The proteolytic system consists of an extracellularly located serine-proteinase, transport systems specific for di-tripeptides and oligopeptides (> 3 residues), and a multitude of intracellular peptidases. This review describes the properties and regulation of individual components as well as studies that have led to identification of their cellular localization. Targeted mutational techniques developed in recent years have made it possible to investigate the role of individual and combinations of enzymes in vivo. Based on these results as well as in vitro studies of the enzymes and transporters, a model for the proteolytic pathway is proposed. The main features are: (i) proteinases have a broad specificity and are capable of releasing a large number of different oligopeptides, of which a large fraction falls in the range of 4 to 8 amino acid residues; (ii) oligopeptide transport is the main route for nitrogen entry into the cell; (iii) all peptidases are located intracellularly and concerted action of peptidases is required for complete degradation of accumulated peptides.[3]

Lactic Acid Bacteria

A typical lactic acid bacterium grown under standard conditions is aerotolerant, acid tolerant, organotrophic, and a strictly fermentative rod or coccus, producing lactic acid as a major end product. It lacks cytochromes and is unable to synthesize porphyrins. Its features can vary under certain conditions. Catalase and cytochromes may be formed in the presence of hemes and lactic acid can be further metabolized, resulting in lower lactic acid concentrations. Cell division occurs in one plane, except pediococci. The cells are usually nonmotile. They have a requirement for complex growth factors such as vitamins and amino acids. An unequivocal definition of LAB is not possible (Axelsson, Lactic acid bacteria microbiological and functional aspects. Marcel Dekker, 2004). Lactic acid bacteria are characterized by the production of lactic acid as a major catabolic end product from glucose. Some bacilli, such as Actinomyces israeli and bifidobacteria, can form lactic acid as a major end product, but these bacteria have rarely or never been isolated from must and wine. The DNA of LAB has a G+C content below 55 mol%. LAB are grouped into the Clostridium branch of gram-positive bacteria possessing a relationship to the bacilli, while Bifidobacterium belongs to the Actinomycetes. They are grouped in one order and six families. From the 33 described genera, only 26 species belonging to six genera have been isolated from must and wine.[4]

The Lactic Acid Bacteria: A Literature Survey

The purpose of this review article on the lactic acid bacteria grew from an early curiosity and a desire to convey and impart the broad scope of literary information on their functions as starter cultures, in the manufacture of fermentation products such as dairy products and alcoholic beverages, as well as their contribution to better health. This review article is an attempt to empower the reader and to circumvent the difficult task in acquiring and elucidating a large body of information. The intent is to familiarize the reader with the various lactic species, their habitat or source, associated food, physiological characteristics, colonial morphology, biochemical characteristics, culture media (enrichment, nonselective, and selective), classic description, and taxonomy. This review provides information on Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Leuconostoc, Pediococcus, Carnobacterium, and Enterococcus. Trends are presented, such as the use of nisin to extend food shelf-life and the current research premise that Probiotic strains may alter the intestinal flora and thus prevent intestinal wall penetration by pathogens.[5]


[1] Stiles, M.E., 1996. Biopreservation by lactic acid bacteria. Antonie van leeuwenhoek, 70(2), pp.331-345.

[2] De Vuyst, L. and Degeest, B., 1999. Heteropolysaccharides from lactic acid bacteria. FEMS microbiology reviews, 23(2), pp.153-177.

[3] Kunji, E.R., Mierau, I., Hagting, A., Poolman, B. and Konings, W.N., 1996. The proteotytic systems of lactic acid bacteria. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, 70(2), pp.187-221.

[4] Axelsson, L., 2004. Lactic acid bacteria: classification and physiology. Food Science and Technology-New York-Marcel Dekker-, 139, pp.1-66.

[5] Carr, F.J., Chill, D. and Maida, N., 2002. The lactic acid bacteria: a literature survey. Critical reviews in microbiology, 28(4), pp.281-370.

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