Spontaneously fermented curly kale juice: Microbiological quality, nutritional composition, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties

J Food Sci. 2020 Apr;85(4):1248-1255. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.15080. Epub 2020 Mar 6.


Nondairy fermented products, such as fruit and vegetable juices, are gaining popularity among consumers worldwide for health-related and economic reasons. The purpose of this study was to determine the changes in microbiological quality; antimicrobial and antioxidant activity; and phenolic, vitamin C, minerals, and cadmium content occurring during spontaneous fermentation of curly kale juice. The fermentation process contributed to a significant growth of lactic acid bacteria, enterococci, and yeasts, while no pathogens of Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. were observed. The antimicrobial properties of the obtained juice improved during fermentation for all indicator microorganisms. Total phenolic content and antioxidant activity increased from 48 to 116 mg gallic acid equivalent/100 mL and from 4.5 to 6.8 mM Trolox/100 mL, respectively, while the content of vitamin C decreased. The results indicated that 100 mL of juice provided a significant contribution to the recommended mineral intake. Moreover, the content of heavy metal Cd was within acceptable limit (6 µg/kg). Overall, our findings indicate that fermented curly kale juice may become popular in the functional food sector, especially among vegetarians and consumers with lactose intolerance or allergy to milk proteins. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: As the market for fermented fruit and vegetable products grows, new plant materials rich in biologically active compounds are being sought. Considering the high demand for sauerkraut, the fermentation of other cruciferous vegetables seems interesting. One example is curly kale, which has been classified as "superfood" due to its numerous beneficial health properties, such as strong antioxidant activity, high vitamins, and minerals content. In addition, a market niche exists due to a lack of fermented green curly kale products on the market, making our study particularly relevant.

Keywords: antimicrobial activity; antioxidant activity; curly kale; fermented juice; minerals; vitamin C.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Ascorbic Acid / analysis
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Brassica / chemistry*
  • Brassica / microbiology
  • Fermentation
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juices / analysis
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juices / microbiology*
  • Fungi / drug effects*
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Vitamins


  • Antioxidants
  • Phenols
  • Vitamins
  • Ascorbic Acid