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Impact of Media Heat Treatment on Cell Morphology and Stability of L. acidophilus, L. johnsonii and L. delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii during Fermentation and Processing

Ludszuweit, Marie; Schmacht, Maximilian; Keil, Claudia; Haase, Hajo; Senz, Martin

Manufacturers of starter cultures and probiotics aim to provide preparations with the highest possible amount of living cells and assurance of long-term storage stability. Thereby the industrial economy and thus an efficient outcome of the processes is of utmost importance. Earlier research has shown that the sterilization procedure of the microbial culture medium tremendously impacts growth performance of heating product-sensitive Lactobacillus strains. Thus, three different strains, i.e., L. acidophilus NCFM, L. johnsonii La-2801 and L. delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii La-0704, were investigated for the influence of media heat pretreatment on cell morphology and stability during fermentation and further freeze drying and storage. The data indicate a relationship between the heating time of the culture medium, which is associated with an increase in browning reactions, and the cultural characteristics of the three strains. The resulting characteristic cell sizes of the cultures could be a major reason for the different stability properties during processing and storage that were observed. Besides the obvious relevance of the results for the production of starter cultures and probiotics, the pleomorphic phenomenon described here could also be a subject for other biotechnological processes, where heat-mediated media conversions, and thereby related cellular effects, could be a topic. Future studies have to show if further functional properties are influenced by the cell morphology and which cellular mechanisms lead to the observed pleomorphism.
Published in: Fermentation, 10.3390/fermentation6040094, MDPI