Medycyna Wet. 66 (8), 534-537, 2010
Borawska J., Warmińska-Radyko I., Darewicz M.
Role and application of the genus Propionibacterium in food and fodder production
Propionic acid bacteria (PAB) from the genus Propionibacterium are the main organisms used as ripening culture in Swiss-type cheese. PAB can utilize a variety of substrates; however, lactate is the main energy source for fermentation. During propionic acid fermentation these bacteria produce metabolites (propionic and acetic acids) which play an important role in the development of the characteristic nutty-sweet flavours of the above-mentioned cheeses. The carbon dioxide that is produced is responsible for the eye formation. Other attributes of Propionibacterium important from the technological point of view are the production of vitamins, such as vitamin B12, B5, or K, and folic acid as well as antifungal and bacteriostatic compounds, such as bacteriocins and also short-chain fatty acids. Propionic acid is reported to have a growth-inhibiting effect on fungi as well as on some Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. That is why propionic acid fermentation has great potential in food preservation. Studies over the last few years have confirmed numerous health benefits of these bacteria, and this has resulted in their qualification and increased use as probiotics. Therefore, the role of Propionibacteria in food and feed industry is likely to grow.
Keywords: Propionibacterium, food industry, probiotics