Streptococcus thermophilus is a species frequently used in the manufacture of fermented milk. Apart from acid production, some strains additionally synthesize exopolysaccharides (EPS) which contribute to texture improvement and syneresis reduction, both being attributable to the EPS’s high water binding capacity. There are two different types of EPS that may be produced, namely free exopolysaccharides (fEPS) which are secreted into the medium, and capsular EPS (cEPS) which remain attached to the bacterial cell wall. This study aims to analyze their individual contribution to techno-functional properties of fermented milk by determining the moisture sorption behavior of isolated fEPS and cell-attached cEPS from two S. thermophilus strains separately: ST-1G, a producer of non-ropy fEPS and cEPS, and ST-2E, a producer of ropy fEPS and cEPS. Differences in moisture load and sorption kinetics, determined for the first time for microbial EPS, were related to structural and macromolecular properties. The observed data are discussed by using previously published data on the physical properties of stirred fermented milk produced with these two strains. ST-1G EPS showed a higher cEPS fraction, a higher moisture load and slower moisture desorption than EPS produced by ST-2E, thus contributing to lower syneresis in fermented milk. For ST-2E, higher gel viscosity was related to a higher intrinsic viscosity and molecular mass of the ropy fEPS. Both strains produced complex EPS or EPS mixtures with clearly different molecular structures.
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2023|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- capsular exopolysaccharide production, exopolysaccharide isolation, lactic acid bacteria, ropiness, sorption kinetics, structural composition, water binding capacity