Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are widely applied microorganisms in food, feed, and beverage applications, where they can provide essential functionality for product modification, increase product shelf life, or act as beneficial organisms after consumption. Among these, strains of the genus Lactobacillus
are often used as starters, probiotics, or biopreservatives. For all these types of bacterial preparations, a transportable shelf-stable form of concentrated bacteria, preserving their intrinsic properties, is essential for commercial distribution. Former studies revealed a relationship between the culture medium, cellular morphology, and the robustness of Lactobacillus acidophilus
NCFM (name derived from North Carolina Food Microbiology) cultures. Due to these insights, a multitude of Lactobacillus
strains representative of the genus were screened regarding their sensitivity to thermal medium pretreatment possibly accompanied by the alteration of their chemical composition, such as the formation of Maillard reaction products (MRPs). This study reveals a quite diverse and different growth behavior of those strains in the form of altered or non-altered cell concentrations and the size distributions of the populations, whereby five strains of the L. delbrueckii
group in particular showed increased cell concentrations combined with decreased mean cell volumes. The results are of both scientific and industrial relevance, as they highlight the necessity to consider and understand the effects of media sterilization for the applied production strain.
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