Species diversity, community dynamics, and metabolite kinetics of spontaneous leek fermentations

D Wouters, N Bernaert, W Conjaerts, Bart Van Droogenbroeck, M De Loose, L De Vuyst

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    Leek (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum) is one of Belgium's most important vegetables. All or part of the green leek parts are often left on the fields because of their limited cooking applications compared to the white leek parts. Therefore, the possibility to perform leek fermentations in view of product valorization and diversification was investigated. This study deals with the community dynamics, species diversity, and metabolite kinetics of spontaneous leek fermentations, thereby studying the influence of added NaCl concentration, harvesting season, and duration of the fermentation. The combination of a culture-dependent and culture-independent approach revealed the prevalence of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) from the third day of fermentation onwards, which was not influenced by the fermentation conditions applied. Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonadaceae, and yeasts disappeared after one week of fermentation. Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Lactobacillus sakei, and Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis, and Lactobacillus parabrevis were the most frequently isolated LAB species. Both added NaCl concentrations were suitable to perform successful fermentations within three weeks. By that time, glucose and fructose, the main leek carbohydrates, were metabolized into mainly lactic acid, acetic acid, ethanol, and mannitol. A sensory analysis revealed that the fermented white leek parts were generally more appreciated than the fermented green leek parts.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalFood Microbiology
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)185-96
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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