The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine which variables affect the viability of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) added to different types of refrigerated foods during the first 28 days. Scopus, ScienceDirect, PubMed and Cochrane Central Register of Reviews databases were searched from 1997 to April 2022. A total of 278 studies, which showed randomized and controlled experiments published in peer reviewed journals, were included. The viability of LAB in different moments during the storage process was synthesized as mean point estimate (MPE) via random-effects meta-analyses and the effect of multiple factors on the LAB´s viability was evaluated by multiple meta-regression. The meta-analysis showed that the decrease in LAB viability will be more abrupt the greater the initial dose. The physical structure of food may influence bacterial viability. Fruit was the type of product that most quickly lost viability. Co-culture of two or more species did not affect viability. Preservation methods had an unfavorable effect and prebiotics had a beneficial effect on bacterial viability. Viability was genus dependent. The data obtained in this study provide an overview of the factors to be taken into account for the design of new foods.
Keywords: Food; lactic acid bacteria; probiotic; storage; viability.