Drivers for the establishment and composition of the sourdough lactic acid bacteria biota

Int J Food Microbiol. 2016 Dec 19;239:3-18. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2016.05.022. Epub 2016 May 25.


The drivers for the establishment and composition of the sourdough microbiota, with particular emphasis on lactic acid bacteria, are reviewed and discussed. More than 60 different species of lactobacilli were identified from sourdoughs, showing the main overlapping between sourdough and human intestine ecosystems. The microbial kinetics during sourdough preparation was described by several studies using various methodological approaches, including culture-dependent and -independent (e.g., high throughput sequencing), and metabolite and meta-transcriptome analyses. Although the abundant microbial diversity harbored by flours, a succession of dominating and sub-dominating populations of lactic acid bacteria suddenly occurred during sourdough propagation, leading to the progressive assembly of the bacterial community. The contribution of all the potential sources (house microbiota, flour, types of flours and additional ingredients) for contaminating lactic acid bacteria was compared with the aim to find overlapping or specific routes that affect the sourdough microbiota. Once established and mature, pros and cons regarding the stability of the sourdough lactic acid bacteria biota were also reviewed, showing contradictory results, which were mainly dependent on the species/strains. Probably, the future research efforts should be dedicated to decrease the sources/drivers of noticeable variation rather than to full standardization of the process for sourdough preparation and use.

Keywords: Ecological drivers; Lactobacilli; Sourdough.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity
  • Bread / microbiology*
  • Fermentation
  • Flour / microbiology
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism
  • Lactobacillus / classification*
  • Lactobacillus / metabolism
  • Microbial Consortia*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Triticum / microbiology*


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Lactic Acid