Enhancement of nutritional or vitamin content of foods is commonly touted as a major benefit of probiotics. In this paper, we examined the ability of three probiotic bacteria either alone or in combination to enhance nutritional content. Pure and mixed cultures of Streptococcus thermophilus ST5 and Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 or Bifidobacterium longum R0175 were used to prepare fermented soy beverages. The effects of strain, acidification and mixed cultures on the deconjugation of soy isoflavones were examined. Acidification to pH 4.7 alone resulted in a 7% drop in isoflavone levels. Deconjugation levels varied between the different glucosides. Fermentation by L. helveticus R0052 resulted in the 50% reduction in total glucosides with O-malonyl glucosides being reduced 64%. Fermentation by S. thermophilus ST5 or B. longum R0175 had no significant effect on isoflavone levels. Combining a S. thermophilus strain with a L. helveticus culture reduced the effectiveness of the latter. Fermentation did not significantly modify vitamin B1 or B6 levels.
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