Aim: To investigate physicochemical characteristics and especially genotypic diversity of the main culturable micro-organisms involved in fermentation of sap from Borassus akeassii, a newly identified palm tree from West Africa.
Methods and results: Physicochemical characterization was performed using conventional methods. Identification of micro-organisms included phenotyping and sequencing of: 26S rRNA gene for yeasts, 16S rRNA and gyrB genes for lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and acetic acid bacteria (AAB). Interspecies and intraspecies genotypic diversities of the micro-organisms were screened respectively by amplification of the ITS1-5.8S rDNA-ITS2/16S-23S rDNA ITS regions and repetitive sequence-based PCR (rep-PCR). The physicochemical characteristics of samples were: pH: 3.48-4.12, titratable acidity: 1.67-3.50 mg KOH g(-1), acetic acid: 0.16-0.37%, alcohol content: 0.30-2.73%, sugars (degrees Brix): 2.70-8.50. Yeast included mainly Saccharomyces cerevisiae and species of the genera Arthroascus, Issatchenkia, Candida, Trichosporon, Hanseniaspora, Kodamaea, Schizosaccharomyces, Trigonopsis and Galactomyces. Lactobacillus plantarum was the predominant LAB species. Three other species of Lactobacillus were also identified as well as isolates of Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Fructobacillus durionis and Streptococcus mitis. Acetic acid bacteria included nine species of the genus Acetobacter with Acetobacter indonesiensis as predominant species. In addition, isolates of Gluconobacter oxydans and Gluconacetobacter saccharivorans were also identified. Intraspecies diversity was observed for some species of micro-organisms including four genotypes for Acet. indonesiensis, three for Candida tropicalis and Lactobacillus fermentum and two each for S. cerevisiae, Trichosporon asahii, Candida pararugosa and Acetobacter tropicalis.
Conclusion: fermentation of palm sap from B. akeassii involved multi-yeast-LAB-AAB cultures at genus, species and intraspecies level.
Significance and impact of the study: First study describing microbiological and physicochemical characteristics of palm wine from B. akeassii. Genotypic diversity of palm wine LAB and AAB not reported before is demonstrated and this constitutes valuable information for better understanding of the fermentation which can be used to improve the product quality and develop added value by-products.
© 2012 The Society for Applied Microbiology.