• Corn;
  • immobilization;
  • kefir;
  • lactic acid;
  • prebiotic;
  • sourdough bread

Abstract:  The natural mixed culture kefir was immobilized on boiled corn grains to produce an efficient biocatalyst for lactic acid fermentation with direct applications in food production, such as sourdough bread making. The immobilized biocatalyst was initially evaluated for its efficiency for lactic acid production by fermentation of cheese whey at various temperatures. The immobilized cells increased the fermentation rate and enhanced lactic acid production compared to free kefir cells. Maximum lactic acid yield (68.8 g/100 g) and lactic acid productivity (12.6 g/L per day) were obtained during fermentation by immobilized cells at 37 °C. The immobilized biocatalyst was then assessed as culture for sourdough bread making. The produced sourdough breads had satisfactory specific loaf volumes and good sensory characteristics. Specifically, bread made by addition of 60% w/w sourdough containing kefir immobilized on corn was more resistant regarding mould spoilage (appearance during the 11th day), probably due to higher lactic acid produced (2.86 g/Kg of bread) compared to the control samples. The sourdough breads made with the immobilized biocatalyst had aroma profiles similar to that of the control samples as shown by headspace SPME GC-MS analysis.