Fermentation and antimicrobial characteristics of Lactobacillus plantarum and Candida tropicalis from Nigerian fermented maize (akamu)
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This study investigated the ability of Lactobacillus plantarum strains (NGL5 and NGL7) and Candida tropicalis (NGY1) previously identified from akamu-a Nigerian fermented maize food with probiotic L. plantarum LpTx and Saccharomyces boulardii SB20 to ferment ground maize slurries based on pH, acidity, microbial biomass, levels of sugars and organic acids, and their antimicrobial activity against Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis NCTC 5188, Escherichia coli NCTC 11560, Bacillus cereus NCIMB 11925, Staphylococcus aureus NCTC 3750 and Listeria monocytogenes NCTC 7973 using an agar spot assay. L. plantarum strains either as single or mixed starter cultures with the yeasts had growth rates ≥0.15 h-1,with pH significantly (p≤0.05) decreased to ≤3.93 after 12 h and then to ≤3.52 after 72 h and lactic acid >84 mmol L-1. The yeasts had growth rates ≥0.18 h-1 but pH was ≥4.57 with lactic acid levels ≤20.23 mmol L-1 after 72 h in the single culture fermentation. There was no inhibition in modified MRS agar: 0.2% glucose and 0.2% glucose without Tween 80. Inhibition halos in MRS agar varied from 10.6 to 23.9 mm. S. bourladii was more inhibitory towards L. monocytogenes (8.6 mm) and B. cereus (5.4 mm ) than was C. tropicalis (1.1 and 3.3 mm for L. monocytogenes NCTC 7973 and B. cereus NCIMB 11925 respectively) (0.9 mm) in malt extract agar. This study showed that C. tropicalis was less inhibitory to the pathogens while antimicrobial activities of the L. plantarum strains were mainly due to acidity and the L. plantarum strains either as single or mixed cultures with the yeasts demonstrated strong fermentation ability, with significant decrease in pH which is vital in the choice of starter for product safety.
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