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A two‐step controlled lactic fermentation of cabbage for improved chemical and microbiological qualities

Journal of food quality 2012 v.35 no.1 pp. 13-20
Lactobacillus plantarum, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, alanine, amino acid composition, cabbage, carbohydrate metabolism, cold storage, fermented foods, glucose, histidine, isoleucine, lactic fermentation, leucine, methionine, microbiological quality, off flavors, pH, phenylalanine, plate count, preservatives, salt concentration, shelf life, single strain starters, threonine, titratable acidity, tyrosine, valine
Traditionally, lactic fermentation of vegetables is spontaneous and uncontrolled leading to unstable and inconsistent product. The present work used Leuconostoc mesenteroides and Lactobacillus plantarum in a two‐step controlled fermentation to ensure shelf stable, fermented cabbage with 0.5% added salt concentration. The pH, titratable acidity, lactic bacterial counts, sugar utilization and amino acid profile of the final product were periodically monitored. The pH in controlled cabbage fermentation dropped to less than 4.5, within 60 h of fermentation and glucose was completely utilized in 15 days while about 15–18% of glucose remained in spontaneously fermented cabbage. The spontaneously fermented cabbage samples had a significantly lower content of amino acids such as tyrosine, histidine, threonine, alanine, valine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, leucine, methionine and developed off‐flavors at the end of 90 days of refrigerated storage. In contrast, controlled lactic fermentation stabilized the product in the first 15 days of fermentation and was organoleptically acceptable up to 3 months. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Use of defined single or mixed starters and precise control of the cabbage fermentation process go a long way in ensuring a consistent product without the need of any chemical preservatives or harsh processing conditions. The present work made use of the benefits of heterofermentative pathway to create a product similar to naturally fermented cabbage in terms of flavor and used the homofermentative pathway to stabilize the product and showed that it is possible to obtain a satisfactory and stable product by the two‐step controlled fermentation as far as commercializing and mechanizing the product is concerned. The amino acid contents are also shown to be more in controlled than spontaneously fermented cabbage.