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Selection of Promising Exopolysaccharide-Producing Starter Cultures for Gluten-Free Sourdough †

Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via Amendola 2, 42122 Reggio Emilia, Italy
Interdepartmental Research Centre for the Improvement of Agro-Food Biological Resources (BIOGEST-SITEIA), University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Piazzale Europa 1, 42124 Reggio Emilia, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the 2nd International Electronic Conference on Foods—Future Foods and Food Technologies for a Sustainable World, 15–30 October 2021; Available online:
Biol. Life Sci. Forum 2021, 6(1), 38;
Published: 13 October 2021


Celiac disease is an autoimmune enteropathy that affects the small intestine and is caused by the gliadin fraction of wheat gluten and other alcohol-soluble proteins (prolamines) of barley and rye in genetically predisposed subjects. Nowadays, the only recognized cure for this pathology is the use of gluten-free (GF) products. Although the market for GF products has grown in the last few years, their improvement is still a challenge for the food industry. With regard to GF bakery products, some of them can result in an unappetizing taste with a high fat content. These inconveniences can be minimized or solved by using sourdough fermentation. Sourdough is a stable culture of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeast in a mixture of flour and water. In particular, GF sourdough represents a rich source of naturally occurring LAB and wild yeasts, which play important roles in food fermentation. This is mainly due to their potential in improving functional, technological, and probiotics properties, contributing to safe food with a better taste. Moreover, exopolysaccharide (EPS)-producing strains can also contribute to improving the sensory and rheological quality of the different GF products. This study aims to isolate and characterize the microbial pool from a GF sourdough made with rice flour and to evaluate the ability of selected LAB strains to produce exopolysaccharides (EPS). The yeast and LAB were isolated in selective agar media. A total of 220 isolates (110 yeasts and 110 bacteria) were obtained. They were taxonomically identified and characterized using both traditional and molecular approaches. Sequencing analysis of the D1/D2 domain of the 26S rRNA and the 16S rRNA genes, for yeasts and bacteria, respectively, revealed the occurrence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae as predominant yeasts and Lactiplantibacillus plantarum and Pediococcus pentosaceus as dominant LAB. Regarding the EPS production, 25 strains were able to produce dextran-like EPS with a maximum yield of 2 g/L. This study allowed the isolation and selection of promising EPS-producing starter cultures for the different types of flour sourdough, in particular, GF sourdough.

Supplementary Materials

The following supporting information can be downloaded at:, Poster: Selection of Promising Exopolysaccharide-Producing Starter Cultures for Gluten-Free Sourdough.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization and original draft preparation G.I., L.D.V.; investigation and visualization: G.I., C.F., H.H.; writing-review and editing L.D.V., M.G.; supervision, project administration and funding acquisition A.P. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

Not applicable.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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MDPI and ACS Style

Iosca, G.; Febo, C.; Haghighi, H.; De Vero, L.; Gullo, M.; Pulvirenti, A. Selection of Promising Exopolysaccharide-Producing Starter Cultures for Gluten-Free Sourdough. Biol. Life Sci. Forum 2021, 6, 38.

AMA Style

Iosca G, Febo C, Haghighi H, De Vero L, Gullo M, Pulvirenti A. Selection of Promising Exopolysaccharide-Producing Starter Cultures for Gluten-Free Sourdough. Biology and Life Sciences Forum. 2021; 6(1):38.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Iosca, Giovanna, Camilla Febo, Hossein Haghighi, Luciana De Vero, Maria Gullo, and Andrea Pulvirenti. 2021. "Selection of Promising Exopolysaccharide-Producing Starter Cultures for Gluten-Free Sourdough" Biology and Life Sciences Forum 6, no. 1: 38.

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