• calcium;
  • fermentation;
  • phytase;
  • phytic acid;
  • soymilk

Abstract:  The presence of phytate in calcium-fortified soymilk may interfere with mineral absorption. Certain lactic acid bacteria (LAB) produce the enzyme phytase that degrades phytates and therefore may potentially improve mineral bioavailability and absorption. This study investigates the phytase activity and phytate degradation potential of 7 strains of LAB including: Lactobacillus acidophilus ATCC4962, ATCC33200, ATCC4356, ATCC4161, L. casei ASCC290, L. plantarum ASCC276, and L. fermentum VRI-003. Activity of these bacteria was examined both in screening media and in calcium-fortified soymilk supplemented with potassium phytate. Most strains produced phytase under both conditions with L. acidophilus ATCC4161 showing the highest activity. Phytase activity in fortified soymilk fermented with L. acidophilus ATCC4962 and L. acidophilus ATCC4161 increased by 85% and 91%, respectively, between 12 h and 24 h of fermentation. All strains expressed peak phytase activity at approximately pH 5. However, no phytate degradation could be observed.