Poster Topical Area: Nutritional Microbiology
Poster Board Number: 246
Objective: The environmental microbiota that colonize fermentation facilities may impact food quality and safety, thus the overall nutritional impact of the product. Fermented vegetables could be anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, and provide beneficial microbes (e.g. probiotics) to support gastrointestinal health and overall wellbeing. In this study, we investigated a facility that produces spontaneous fermented sauerkraut. Our hypothesis is that these microbial communities originate from the raw vegetables, and are also laterally transferred from the built environment. This will provide a link between establishment of bacterial microbiomes and desired production outcome for maintaining nutritional traits for the consumer.
Methods: Swab samples were collected from various facility surfaces and high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene was performed. The QIIME analysis pipeline was used for classification along with multivariate data analysis using R studio, GraphPad, and Calypso 8.4.
Results: Our results indicate that raw cabbage and vegetable handling surfaces exhibit more similar microbiomes relative to the fermentation room, processing area, and dry storage surfaces. Raw cabbage was main source of bacteria to seed the facility with human handling contributing a minor source of inoculation. We identified biomarker bacterial phyla and families associated with the raw cabbage and vegetable handling surfaces. Leuconostoc and Lactobacillaceae dominated all surfaces where spontaneous fermentation occurs, as these taxa are associated with the process. Wall, floor, ceilings, and barrel surfaces host unique microbial signatures.
Conclusions: In addition to advancing knowledge of the fermented vegetable production environment, these results will guide future studies. Specifically, investigations into the critical role environmental microbes contribute to food product quality to maintain nutritional and beneficial properties.
Senior Research Fellow
Dept. of Food Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst