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Chapter 30 : Starter Cultures

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Abstract:

The production of fermented foods and beverages is one of the oldest biotechnological practices, dating back 7,000 years or more. Throughout human history, many different substrates of animal or plant origin have been fermented, including milk, meat, fish, various vegetables, and soybeans. The manufacture of fermented foods, although rooted in practices developed over many thousands of years, is today a major biotechnological activity which is valued at many billions of dollars. The success of such a large and diverse process is critically dependent on the activity of microorganisms, particularly the lactic acid bacteria (LAB). These are the microbes for which the term “starter culture” was specifically coined, as they are added deliberately to a substrate to start a given fermentation process. This chapter provides a detailed examination of the LAB, outlining their key functional properties. The historical development of starter cultures, their composition, the formats in which they are commercially available, and the particular issues pertaining to the use of starters in a modern, high-throughput industrial setting are discussed. The more recent advances in the analysis of phage-host interactions is also reviewed. Finally, the challenges relating to the use of starters in the production of fermented foods are examined, particularly as they relate to strain diversity and the generation of new products with modified flavor, texture, and health attributes.

Citation: Mahony J, McAuliffe O, Cotter P, Fitzgerald G. 2019. Starter Cultures, p 789-813. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch30
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Figures

Image of Figure 30.1
Figure 30.1

Homolactic and heterolactic fermentation pathways for glucose employed by different LAB.

Citation: Mahony J, McAuliffe O, Cotter P, Fitzgerald G. 2019. Starter Cultures, p 789-813. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch30
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Image of Figure 30.2
Figure 30.2

Schematic representation of the proteolytic system of showing the cell membrane-anchored proteinase PrtP, the membrane-located transport systems (Opp, DtpT, and Dpp), and the array of intracellular peptidases, including endopeptidases, aminopeptidases, di- and tripeptidases, and proline peptidases, that are involved in protein/peptide catabolism and the ensuing release of compounds associated with flavor and aroma.

Citation: Mahony J, McAuliffe O, Cotter P, Fitzgerald G. 2019. Starter Cultures, p 789-813. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch30
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Image of Figure 30.3
Figure 30.3

Pathways observed in through which amino acids are converted to compounds which are significant in the development of flavor in ripened cheeses.

Citation: Mahony J, McAuliffe O, Cotter P, Fitzgerald G. 2019. Starter Cultures, p 789-813. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch30
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Image of Figure 30.4
Figure 30.4

Key attributes assessed to determine the technological appropriateness of starter or adjunct cultures by starter culture manufacturers. These attributes include safety for use in foods and performance and production characteristics.

Citation: Mahony J, McAuliffe O, Cotter P, Fitzgerald G. 2019. Starter Cultures, p 789-813. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch30
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Image of Figure 30.5
Figure 30.5

Stages in the production of a bulk starter, where intermediate propagation steps are incorporated to scale up the production of the desired starter culture.

Citation: Mahony J, McAuliffe O, Cotter P, Fitzgerald G. 2019. Starter Cultures, p 789-813. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch30
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Image of Figure 30.6
Figure 30.6

(A) Structure and general characteristics of a tailed phage highlighting the DNA-filled capsid, the tail, and tail tip appendages. Some phages possess large multicomponent structures at the distal ends of their tails, termed baseplates. (B) Representative electron micrograph of the lactococcal P335 phage Tuc2009, which exhibits the structures highlighted in the schematic in panel A.

Citation: Mahony J, McAuliffe O, Cotter P, Fitzgerald G. 2019. Starter Cultures, p 789-813. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch30
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Image of Figure 30.7
Figure 30.7

Schematic representing the lytic and lysogenic cycles that may be followed by phages.

Citation: Mahony J, McAuliffe O, Cotter P, Fitzgerald G. 2019. Starter Cultures, p 789-813. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch30
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Image of Figure 30.8
Figure 30.8

Schematic representation of the genome organization of a typical lactococcal P335 phage highlighting the functional modules of gene clusters, including those associated with lysogeny, replication, and DNA packaging and head and tail morphogenesis functions.

Citation: Mahony J, McAuliffe O, Cotter P, Fitzgerald G. 2019. Starter Cultures, p 789-813. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch30
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Image of Figure 30.9
Figure 30.9

Schematic depicting the five known phage resistance systems that are active at the various stages of the phage cycle, from adsorption inhibition at the initial binding step to DNA injection blocking, R/M systems that cleave and modify the incoming DNA, CRISPR-Cas systems that provide immunity to “foreign” DNA, and abortive infection systems that may be active at the stage of DNA replication, assembly, or maturation of the phage particle.

Citation: Mahony J, McAuliffe O, Cotter P, Fitzgerald G. 2019. Starter Cultures, p 789-813. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch30
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References

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Tables

Generic image for table
Table 30.1

List of major LAB and their primary applications in food fermentations

Citation: Mahony J, McAuliffe O, Cotter P, Fitzgerald G. 2019. Starter Cultures, p 789-813. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch30
Generic image for table
Table 30.2

Number of completely sequenced genomes of lactic acid bacterial species

Citation: Mahony J, McAuliffe O, Cotter P, Fitzgerald G. 2019. Starter Cultures, p 789-813. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch30

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