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Keywords:

  • vegetable fermentation;
  • lactic acid bacteria;
  • species diversity;
  • metabolite analysis

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Artisanal vegetable fermentations are very popular in Eastern European countries. Fresh vegetables undergo a spontaneous fermentation in the presence of salt, which is mainly carried out by lactic acid bacteria (LAB).

RESULTS: Culture-dependent and culture-independent analyses of end-samples of various spontaneous vegetable fermentations carried out in houses of the Chiodju region (central Romania) revealed Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus brevis as the most frequently isolated LAB species. Leuconostoc mesenteroides and Leuconostoc citreum were also found. Furthermore, the community dynamics of spontaneous cauliflower and mixed-vegetable (green tomatoes, carrots and cauliflower) fermentations revealed three steps: an initial phase characterised by the presence of Enterobacteriaceae and a wide LAB species diversity, encompassing Weissella species; a second phase from day 3 onwards wherein L. citreum and Lb. brevis occurred; and a final phase characterised by the prevalence of Lb. brevis and Lb. plantarum. Metabolite target analysis revealed that glucose and fructose were mostly depleted at the end of fermentation. The main products of carbohydrate metabolism were lactic acid, acetic acid, ethanol and small amounts of mannitol, indicating heterolactate fermentation.

CONCLUSION: Given their prevalence at the end of vegetable fermentations, Lb. brevis and Lb. plantarum appear to be good candidate starter cultures for controlled vegetable fermentation processes. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry