Selection of lactic acid bacteria isolated from Tunisian cereals and exploitation of the use as starters for sourdough fermentation
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Wheat bread is the most popular staple food consumed in Tunisia and, despite the niche production of some typical breads (e.g. Tabouna, Mlawi, Mtabga), the major part is currently produced with baker's yeast at industrial or, mainly, at artisanal level, while the use of sourdough fermentation is rarely reported. Considering the growing national demand for cereal baked goods, it can be hypothesized that sourdough fermentation through the use of selected lactic acid bacteria as starters could improve the overall quality and the diversification of local products. Different cereal grains were collected from the regions of Ariana, Bizerta, Beja Nabeul, and Seliana, and the autochthonous lactic acid bacteria were isolated, identified, characterized and selected on the basis of the kinetics of acidification, the proteolytic activity, and the quotient of fermentation. Lactobacillus curvatus MA2, Pediococals pentosaceus OA2, and Pediococcus acidilactici O1A1 were used together as mixed starter to obtain a selected sourdough. According to the backslopping procedure, a type I sourdough was made from a Tunisian flour (spontaneous sourdough). Compared to the use of the spontaneous sourdough, the one obtained with selected and mixed starters by a unique fermentation step, favored the increase of the concentrations of organic acids, phenols, and total free amino acids, the most suitable quotient of fermentation, and the most intense phytase and antioxidant activities, that increased ca. 20% compared to the control. Moreover, the selected starters improved the in vitro protein digestibility (ca. 82% when selected sourdough was used), textural and sensory features of the breads, as determined by textural profile analysis and panel test, respectively.