Beetroot (Beta vulgaris
L.) represents a very rich source of bioactive compounds such as phenolic compounds and carotenoids, among which the most important being betalains, mainly betacyanins and betaxanthins. The beetroot matrix was used in a fresh or dried form or as lyophilized powder. A 1012
CFU/g inoculum of Lactobacillus plantarum
MIUG BL3 culture was sprayed on the vegetal tissue. The lactic acid bacteria (LAB) viability for all the products was evaluated over 21 days, by microbiological culture methods. The antioxidant activity of the obtained food products was correlated to the betalains content and the viability of LAB. The content of polyphenolic compounds varied between 225.7 and 1314.7 mg L−1
, hence revealing a high content of bioactive compounds. Through the confocal laser scanning microscopy analysis, a large number of viable probiotic cells were observed in all the variants but especially in the fresh red beet cubes. After 21 days of refrigeration, the high content of Lb. plantarum
(CFU per gram) of the food products was attributed to the biocompounds and the nutrients of the vegetal matrix that somehow protected the bacterial cells, and thus maintained their viability. The obtained food products enriched with probiotic LAB can be regarded as new functional food products due to the beneficial properties they possessed throughout the undertaken experiments.
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