Synthesis of the cancer preventive peptide lunasin by lactic acid bacteria during sourdough fermentation

Nutr Cancer. 2012;64(1):111-20. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2012.630159. Epub 2011 Nov 18.


This study aimed to exploit the potential of sourdough lactic acid bacteria to release lunasin during fermentation of cereal and nonconventional flours. The peptidase activities of a large number of sourdough lactic acid bacteria were screened using synthetic substrates. Selected lactic acid bacteria were used as sourdough starters to ferment wholemeal wheat, soybean, barley, amaranth, and rye flours. Proteinase activity during fermentation was characterized by SDS-PAGE analysis of the water-soluble extracts. Albumins having molecular masses of 18 to 22 kDa, which included the size of lunasin precursors, were markedly affected by proteolysis of lactic acid bacteria. After fermentation, lunasin from the water-soluble extracts was quantified, purified, and identified through RP-HPLC and nano-LC-ESI-MS analyses. Compared to control doughs, the concentration of lunasin increased up to 2-4 times during fermentation. Lactobacillus curvatus SAL33 and Lactobacillus brevis AM7 synthesized the highest concentrations of lunasin in all the flours. Besides the presence of the entire lunasin sequence, fragments containing the immunoreactive epitope RGDDDDDDDDD were also found. This study shows that fermentation by lactic acid bacteria increased the concentration of lunasin to levels that would suggest new possibilities for the biological synthesis and for the formulation of functional foods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bread / microbiology*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Fermentation*
  • Flour / microbiology
  • Lactobacillus / metabolism*
  • Levilactobacillus brevis
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Soybean Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Soybean Proteins / isolation & purification


  • GM2S-1 protein, soybean
  • Soybean Proteins
  • Peptide Hydrolases