Fructose-rich niches traced the evolution of lactic acid bacteria toward fructophilic species
Di Cagno R
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Fructophilic lactic acid bacteria (FLAB) are found in fructose-rich habitats associated with flowers, fruits, fermented foods, and the gastrointestinal tract of several insects having a fructose-based diet. FLAB are heterofermentative lactobacilli that prefer fructose instead of glucose as carbon source, although additional electron acceptor substrates (e.g. oxygen) remarkably enhance their growth on glucose. As a newly discovered bacterial group, FLAB are gaining increasing interest. In this review, the ecological context in which these bacteria exist and evolve was resumed. The wide frequency of isolation of FLAB from fructose feeding insects has been deepened to reveal their ecological significance. Genomic, metabolic data, reductive evolution, and niche specialization of the main FLAB species have been discussed. Findings to date acquired are consistent with a metabolic model in which FLAB display a reliance on environmental niches and the degree of host specificity. In light of FLAB proximity to lactic acid bacteria generally considered to be safe, and due to their peculiar metabolic traits, FLAB may be successfully exploited in food and pharmaceutical applications.