Abstract: Probiotic strain Lactobacillus plantarum L4 and strain Leuconostoc mesenteroides LMG 7954 were applied for the controlled fermentation of cabbage heads. The parameters of the controlled and spontaneous fermentations, including antimicrobial effect of cabbage brines obtained at the end of both fermentations, were monitored. To check out the influence of starter culture strains, 10 randomly chosen lactic acid bacteria, isolated at the end of controlled cabbage heads fermentation were identified by API 50CHL test, and the presence of the probiotic culture was confirmed by Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis. The starter cultures applied for cabbage heads fermentation allowed lowering of NaCl concentrations from 4.0% to 2.5% (w/v), considerably accelerated fermentation process by 14 d, and improved the product quality. The produced sauerkraut heads are considered probiotic product as viable probiotic cells count in final product was higher than 106 colony-forming units (CFU) per gram of product.
Practical Application: The results of this research could be applied in the production of fermented cabbage heads with added functional (probiotic) value and with lower NaCl concentration with expected shortened fermentation time. This could not only be of economic but also of ecological importance.