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Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Volume 61, 2020, Pages 45-52

Applications of plant-based fermented foods and their microbes

Sander Wuyts, Wannes Van Beeck, Camille Nina Allonsius, Marianne FL van den Broek, Sarah Lebeer

Environmental Ecology and Applied Microbiology (ENdEMIC), Department of Bioscience Engineering, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, 2020 Antwerp, Belgium.


Plant-based fermentations and their microbes provide an underexplored source for novel biotechnological applications. Recent advances in DNA sequencing technologies and analyses of sequencing data highlight that a diverse array of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) frequently dominate these plant fermentations. Because of the long history of safe LAB use in fermented foods, we argue here that various novel probiotic, synbiotic and a range of other industrial applications can be produced based on new insights in the functional and genetic potential of these LAB. To aid in this quest, comparative genomics tools are increasingly available enabling a more rational design of wet-lab experiments to screen for the most relevant properties. This is also true for the exploration of useful enzymatic and (secondary) metabolic production capacities of the LAB that can be isolated from these plant-based fermentations, such as the recent discovery of a cellulase enzyme in specific Lactobacillus plantarum group members.

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