Isolation, characterisation and exploitation of lactic acid bacteria capable of efficient conversion of sugars to mannitol


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International Journal of Food Microbiology

© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


The demand for sugar reduction in products across the food and beverage industries has evoked the development of novel processes including the application of fermentation with lactic acid bacteria. Heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are diverse in their ability to utilise fermentable sugars and can also convert fructose into the sweet tasting polyol, mannitol. The sourdough microbiota has long been recognised as an ecological niche for a range of homofermentative and heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria. A leading determinant in the biodiversity of sourdough microbial populations is the type of flour used. Ten non-wheat flours were used and back-slopped for 7 days resulting in the isolation of 52 mannitol producing isolates which spanned six heterofermentative species of the genera Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc and Weissella. Assessment of mannitol productivity in fructose concentrations up to 100 g/L found Leuconostoc citreum TR116, to have the best mannitol producing characteristics, consuming 95% of available fructose and yielding 0.68 g of mannitol per gram of fructose consumed which equates to the maximal theoretical yield. Investigation of the effects of initial pH on mannitol production and other fermentation parameters in the isolates found pH 7 to be best for isolates Lactobacillus brevis TR052, Leuconostoc fallax TR111, Leuconostoc citreum TR116, Leuconostoc mesenteroides TR154 and Weissella paramesenteroides TR212, while pH 6 was optimal for Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides TR080. The fermentation of apple juice with each isolate resulted in sugar reduction ranging from 30.3–74.0 g/L (34–72%). When apple juice fermentation with Leuconostoc citreum TR116 was scaled up to 1 L bioreactor a reduction in sugar of 98.6 g/L (83%) was achieved along with the production of 61.6 g/L mannitol. This demonstrates a fermentative process for sugar reduction in fruit juice with concomitant production of the sweet metabolite mannitol to create a fermentate that is suitable for further development as a low sugar fruit juice alternative.

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