This study focused on the performance of the dextran producer Leuconostoc citreum as starter culture during 30 days of wheat flour type I sourdough propagation (back-slopping). As confirmed by RAPD-PCR analysis, the strain dominated throughout the propagation procedure, consisting of daily fermentations at 20 °C. The sourdoughs were characterized by consistent lactic acid bacteria cell density and acidification parameters, reaching pH values of 4.0 and mild titratable acidity. Carbohydrates consumption remained consistent during the propagation procedure, leading to formation of mannitol and almost equimolar amount of lactic and acetic acid. The addition of sucrose enabled the formation of dextran, inducing an increase in viscosity of the sourdough of 2–2.6 fold, as well as oligosaccharides. The transcriptional analysis based on glucosyltransferases genes (GH70) showed the existence in L. citreum FDR241 of at least five different dextransucrases. Among these, only one gene, previously identified as forming only α-(1–6) glycosidic bonds, was significantly upregulated in sourdough fermentation conditions, and the main responsible of dextran formation. A successful application of a starter culture during long sourdough back-slopping procedure will depend on the strain robustness and fermentation conditions. Transcriptional regulation of EPS-synthetizing genes might contribute to increase the efficiency of industrial processes.
- Leuconostoc citreum