Microbial ecology of sourdough fermentations: diverse or uniform?

Food Microbiol. 2014 Feb;37:11-29. doi: 10.1016/j.fm.2013.06.002. Epub 2013 Jun 18.

Abstract

Sourdough is a specific and stressful ecosystem inhabited by yeasts and lactic acid bacteria (LAB), mainly heterofermentative lactobacilli. On the basis of their inocula, three types of sourdough fermentation processes can be distinguished, namely backslopped ones, those initiated with starter cultures, and those initiated with a starter culture followed by backslopping. Typical sourdough LAB species are Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus paralimentarius, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis. Typical sourdough yeast species are Candida humilis, Kazachstania exigua, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Whereas region specificity is claimed in the case of artisan backslopped sourdoughs, no clear-cut relationship between a typical sourdough and its associated microbiota can be found, as this is dependent on the sampling, isolation, and identification procedures. Both simple and very complex consortia may occur. Moreover, a series of intrinsic and extrinsic factors may influence the composition of the sourdough microbiota. For instance, an influence of the flour (type, quality status, etc.) and the process parameters (temperature, pH, dough yield, backslopping practices, etc.) occurs. In this way, the presence of Lb. sanfranciscensis during sourdough fermentation depends on specific environmental and technological factors. Also, Triticum durum seems to select for obligately heterofermentative LAB species. Finally, there are indications that the sourdough LAB are of intestinal origin.

Keywords: Bakery; Lactic acid bacteria; Microbial ecology; Sourdough; Yeasts.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity
  • Bread / analysis
  • Bread / microbiology*
  • Ecosystem
  • Edible Grain / chemistry
  • Edible Grain / microbiology*
  • Fermentation
  • Flour / analysis
  • Flour / microbiology*
  • Lactobacillus / classification
  • Lactobacillus / genetics
  • Lactobacillus / isolation & purification
  • Lactobacillus / metabolism*
  • Yeasts / classification
  • Yeasts / genetics
  • Yeasts / isolation & purification
  • Yeasts / metabolism*