The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of in situ produced exopolysaccharides (EPS) on the rheological and textural properties of fava bean protein concentrate (FPC). EPS (dextrans) were produced from sucrose by two lactic acid bacteria (LAB). The acidification, rheology, and texture of FPC pastes fermented with Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides DSM 20193 and Weissella confusa VTT E-143403 (E3403) were compared. A clear improvement in rheological and textural parameters was observed in sucrose-added pastes after fermentation, especially with W. confusa VTT E3403. Only moderate proteolysis of fava bean protein during fermentation was observed. The microstructure of the protein in FPC pastes, as observed by confocal laser scanning microscopy, revealed a less continuous and denser structure in EPS-abundant pastes. The beneficial structure formed during EPS-producing fermentation could not be mimicked by simply mixing FPC, isolated dextran, lactic acid, and acetic acid with water. These results emphasize the benefits of in situ produced EPS in connection with the LAB fermentation of legume protein-rich foods. Fermentation with EPS-producing LAB is a cost-effective and clean-labeled technology to obtain tailored textures, and it can further enhance the usability of legumes in novel foods.
- Fava bean protein
- Lactic acid bacteria