Identification and characterization of Leuconostoc fallax strains isolated from an industrial sauerkraut fermentation

Rodolphe Barrangou, Sung Sik Yoon, Frederick Breidt, Henry P. Fleming, Todd R. Klaenhammer

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Lactic acid bacterial strains were isolated from brines sampled after 7 days of an industrial sauerkraut fermentation, and six strains were selected on the basis of susceptibility to bacteriophages. Bacterial growth in cabbage juice was monitored, and the fermentation end products were identified, quantified, and compared to those of Leuconostoc mesenteroides. Identification by biochemical fingerprinting, endonuclease digestion of the 16S-23S intergenic transcribed spacer region, and sequencing of variable regions V1 and V2 of the 16S rRNA gene indicated that the six selected sauerkraut isolates were Leuconostoc fallax strains. Random amplification of polymorphic DNA fingerprints indicated that the strains were distinct from one another. The growth and fermentation patterns of the L. fallax isolates were highly similar to those of L. mesenteroides. The final pH of cabbage juice fermentation was 3.6, and the main fermentation end products were lactic acid, acetic acid, and mannitol for both species. However, none of the L. fallax strains exhibited the malolactic reaction, which is characteristic of most L. mesenteroides strains. These results indicated that in addition to L. mesenteroides, a variety of L. fallax strains may be present in the heterofermentative stage of sauerkraut fermentation. The microbial ecology of sauerkraut fermentation appears to be more complex than previously indicated, and the prevalence and roles of L. fallax require further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2877-2884
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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