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International Journal of Food Microbiology
Vol. 203, 2015, Pages: 35–40

Characterization of the microbial diversity in yacon spontaneous fermentation at 20°C

L.D. Reina, I.M. Pérez-Díaz, F. Breidt, M.A. Azcarate-Peril, E. Medina, N. Butz

Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, United States.


The prebiotic fructooligosaccharide content of yacon makes this root an attractive alternative for the supplementation of a variety of food products. The preservation of yacon by fermentation has been proposed as an alternative to increase the probiotic content of the root concomitantly with its shelf life. Thus the fermented yacon could have significant functional content. The objective of this research was to characterize the biochemistry and microbiology of spontaneous yacon fermentation with 2% NaCl and define the viability of the proposed process. The biochemical analysis of spontaneous heterolactic fermentation of yacon showed a progressive drop in pH with increased lactic and acetic acids, and the production of mannitol during fermentation. The microbial ecology of yacon fermentation was investigated using culture-dependent and culture-independent methods. Bacterial cell counts revealed a dominance of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) over yeasts, which were also present during the first 2 days of the fermentation. Results showed that the heterofermentative LAB were primarily Leuconostoc species, thus it presents a viable method to achieve long term preservation of this root.

Keywords: Fermented vegetables; Lactic acid bacteria; Heterolactic fermentation.

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