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Production of natural folates by lactic acid bacteria starter cultures isolated from artisanal Argentinean yogurts

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Folate is a B-group vitamin that cannot be synthesized by humans and must be obtained exogenously. Although some species of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) can produce folates, little is known about the production of this vitamin by yogurt starter cultures. Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus strains were isolated from artisanal Argentinean yogurts and were grown in folate-free culture medium (FACM) and nonfat milk after which intracellular and extracellular folate production were evaluated. From the initial 92 isolated LAB strains, 4 L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and 32 S. thermophilus were able to grow in the absence of folate. Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus CRL 863 and S. thermophilus CRL 415 and CRL 803 produced the highest extracellular folate levels (from 22.3 to 135 µg/L) in FACM. In nonfat milk, these strains were able to increase the initial folate concentrations by almost 190%. This is the first report where native strains of L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus were shown to produce natural folate. The LAB strains identified in this study could be used in developing novel fermented products bio-enriched in natural folates that could in turn be used as an alternative to fortification with the controversial synthetic chemical folic acid.

Keywords: aliments fermentés; bactéries lactiques; fermented foods; folate; folates; fortification; lactic acid bacteria; lactobacilli; lactobacillus; streptococci; streptococcus; vitamin fortification

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centro de Referencia para Lactobacilos (CERELA–CONICET), Chacabuco 145, (T4000ILC) San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán, Argentina.

Publication date: May 16, 2012

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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