Exploitation of vegetables and fruits through lactic acid fermentation
Di Cagno R
De Angelis M
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Lactic acid fermentation represents the easiest and the most suitable way for increasing the daily consumption of fresh-like vegetables and fruits. Literature data are accumulating, and this review aims at describing the main features of the lactic acid bacteria to be used for fermentation. Lactic acid bacteria are a small part of the autochthonous microbiota of vegetables and fruits. The diversity of the microbiota markedly depends on the intrinsic and extrinsic parameters of the plant matrix. Notwithstanding the reliable value of the spontaneous fermentation to stabilize and preserve raw vegetables and fruits, a number of factors are in favour of using selected starters. Two main options may be pursued for the controlled lactic acid fermentation of vegetables and fruits: the use of commercial/allochthonous and the use of autochthonous starters. Several evidences were described in favour of the use of selected autochthonous starters, which are tailored for the specific plant matrix. Pro-technological, sensory and nutritional criteria for selecting starters were reported as well as several functional properties, which were recently ascribed to autochthonous lactic acid bacteria. The main features of the protocols used for the manufacture of traditional, emerging and innovative fermented vegetables and fruits were reviewed. Tailored lactic acid bacteria starters completely exploit the potential of vegetables and fruits, which enhances the hygiene, sensory, nutritional and shelf life properties. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.