•  Bacteria;
  • Chinese traditional sourdough;
  • culture-independent method;
  • diversity;
  • Illumina sequencing platform


The purpose of this study was to identify the major bacteria in Chinese traditional sourdough (CTS). Five CTS samples (Hn-87, Sx-91, Gs-107, Hf-112, and Hr-122) were collected from different Chinese steamed breads shops or private households. The total bacterial DNA was extracted from sourdough samples and sequenced using Illumina Hiseq 2000 system. Illumina tags were assigned to BLASTN server based on 16S rRNA libraries to reveal a genetic profile. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the bacteria in traditional sourdough samples were dominated by the genera Leuconostoc and Lactobacillus. Beta diversity analysis, principal component analysis, and cluster analysis compared the bacterial differences in traditional sourdough samples. The results showed that Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, and Weissella were the predominant genera among the 5 samples. This differentiated the sourdoughs into 3 typologies, namely, 1) Gs-107 and Sx-91, 2) Hr-122 and Hn-87, and 3) Hf-112. This study identified 3 unique major bacteria genus in CTS bread ecosystems.

Practical Application

Chinese steamed bread (CSB) is a fermented food unique to Chinese culture. Sourdough CSB is more popular among consumers than those made by baker's yeast. However, there is little information about the major microorganism in CTS. This study identified the predominant bacteria in CTS. It would be more helpful in selecting appropriate strains for improving the quality of CSBs and provide theoretical basis for further application of CTS.