Lactic acid bacteria producing B-group vitamins: a great potential for functional cereals products

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Dec;96(6):1383-94. doi: 10.1007/s00253-012-4440-2. Epub 2012 Oct 24.


Wheat contains various essential nutrients including the B group of vitamins. However, B group vitamins, normally present in cereals-derived products, are easily removed or destroyed during milling, food processing or cooking. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are widely used as starter cultures for the fermentation of a large variety of foods and can improve the safety, shelf life, nutritional value, flavor and overall quality of the fermented products. In this regard, the identification and application of strains delivering health-promoting compounds is a fascinating field. Besides their key role in food fermentations, several LAB found in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals are commercially used as probiotics and possess generally recognized as safe status. LAB are usually auxotrophic for several vitamins although certain strains of LAB have the capability to synthesize water-soluble vitamins such as those included in the B group. In recent years, a number of biotechnological processes have been explored to perform a more economical and sustainable vitamin production than that obtained via chemical synthesis. This review article will briefly report the current knowledge on lactic acid bacteria synthesis of vitamins B2, B11 and B12 and the potential strategies to increase B-group vitamin content in cereals-based products, where vitamins-producing LAB have been leading to the elaboration of novel fermented functional foods. In addition, the use of genetic strategies to increase vitamin production or to create novel vitamin-producing strains will be also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Edible Grain / microbiology*
  • Food Handling
  • Functional Food / microbiology*
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism*
  • Vitamin B Complex / biosynthesis*


  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Lactic Acid