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Microbial Community Analysis of Sauerkraut Fermentation Reveals a Stable and Rapidly Established Community

Zabat, Michelle A., Sano, William H., Wurster, Jenna I., Cabral, Damien J., Belenky, Peter
Foods 2018 v.7 no.5
bacterial communities, fermentation, ingredients, lactic acid bacteria, microbiome, packaging, ribosomal RNA, sauerkraut, taxonomy
Despite recent interest in microbial communities of fermented foods, there has been little inquiry into the bacterial community dynamics of sauerkraut, one of the world’s oldest and most prevalent fermented foods. In this study, we utilize 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to profile the microbial community of naturally fermented sauerkraut throughout the fermentation process while also analyzing the bacterial communities of the starting ingredients and the production environment. Our results indicate that the sauerkraut microbiome is rapidly established after fermentation begins and that the community is stable through fermentation and packaging for commercial sale. Our high-throughput analysis is in agreement with previous studies that utilized traditional microbiological assessments but expands the identified taxonomy. Additionally, we find that the microbial communities of the starting ingredients and the production facility environment exhibit low relative abundance of the lactic acid bacteria that dominate fermented sauerkraut.