Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are considered as the main biogenic amine (BA) producers in fermented foods. These compounds derive from amino acid decarboxylation through microbial activities and can cause toxic effects on humans, with symptoms (headache, heart palpitations, vomiting, diarrhea) depending also on individual sensitivity. Many studies have focused on the aminobiogenic potential of LAB associated with fermented foods, taking into consideration the conditions affecting BA accumulation and enzymes/genes involved in the biosynthetic mechanisms. This review describes in detail the different LAB (used as starter cultures to improve technological and sensorial properties, as well as those naturally occurring during ripening or in spontaneous fermentations) able to produce BAs in model or in real systems. The groups considered were enterococci, lactobacilli, streptococci, lactococci, pediococci, oenococci and, as minor producers, LAB belonging to Leuconostoc
genus. A deeper knowledge of this issue is important because decarboxylase activities are often related to strains rather than to species or genera. Moreover, this information can help to improve the selection of strains for further applications as starter or bioprotective cultures, in order to obtain high quality foods with reduced BA content.
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