Lifestyles of sourdough lactobacilli – Do they matter for microbial ecology and bread quality?

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  • Sourdough is used in production of (steamed) bread as leavening agent (type I sourdoughs) or as baking improver to enhance flavour, texture, and shelf life of bread (type II sourdoughs). The long-term propagation of sourdoughs eliminates dispersal limitation and consistently leads to sourdough microbiota that are composed of host adapted lactobacilli. In contrast, community assembly in spontaneous cereal fermentations is limited by dispersal and nomadic or environmental lactic acid bacteria are the first colonizers of these sourdoughs. Propagation of sourdoughs for use as sole leavening agent (type I sourdoughs) dictates fermentation conditions that select for rapid growth. Type I wheat- and rye sourdoughs are consistently populated by insect-adapted lactobacilli, particularly Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis, which is characterized by a small genome size and a restricted metabolic potential. The diverse fermentation conditions employed in industrial or artisanal Type II sourdough fermentation processes also result in a more diverse microbiota. Nevertheless, type II sourdoughs are typically populated by vertebrate host adapted lactobacilli of the L. delbrueckii and L. reuteri groups. Metabolic traits of host-adapted lactobacilli that enhance competitiveness in intestinal ecosystems also provide technological functionality in bread making. Examples include formation of exopolysaccharides, arginine-, glutamine- and glutamate based mechanisms of acid resistance, and glycosyl hydrolases that reduce FODMAP levels in sourdough and sourdough bread. In conclusion, consideration of the lifestyle of sourdough lactobacilli facilitates the selection of competitive and functional sourdough starter cultures.

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    Article (Draft / Submitted)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Gänzle, M. G., & Zheng, J.(2019). Lifestyles of sourdough lactobacilli – Do they matter for microbial ecology and bread quality? International Journal of Food Microbiology, 302, 15–23.