Assertiveness of Lactobacillus sakei and Lactobacillus curvatus in a fermented sausage model

Dorothee Janßen, Lara Eisenbach, Matthias A. Ehrmann, Rudi F. Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Fresh meat harbors autochthonous microbiota with unknown risk potential, which is introduced in raw fermented sausages. Their growth can be limited by the use of safe, competitive starter strains. In the lack of time and cost-effective methods to track those starters at strain level, their assertiveness upon meat fermentation is widely unknown. Lactobacillus (L.) sakei and L. curvatus, which can be isolated from a variety of habitats, are frequently used as starter cultures. We monitored the assertiveness of 9 L. sakei and 9 L. curvatus strains in a model fermentation using MALDI-TOF-MS. An “in-house” MALDI-TOF-MS database with sub-proteome spectra of L. sakei and L. curvatus strains, as well as members of the autochthonous, spontaneously growing meat microbiota was established, validated and recognition rates were determined for each L. curvatus and L. sakei strain used. Competition studies were performed with standardized sausage batter, which was inoculated with a total of 106 cells of sets of 4–5 strains each of L. sakei and L. curvatus and 106 Staphylococcus carnosus ssp. carnosus cells. The pH and redox potential were monitored continuously. On days 0, 2 and 5 samples were taken to determine the CfU/g and a total of 96 isolates per sample were identified via MALDI-TOF-MS. MALDI-TOF-MS generally proved suitable for identification of isolates on strain level within the starter sets employed, but the recognition rate varied depending on the strain. Competition studies revealed dominance or co-dominance of strains within each set. However, their assertiveness significantly depended on the composition of the strain sets. Still, co-dominance or cooperation appeared effective to outgrow other members of the autochthonous meat microbiota, rather than dominance of single strains. For the latter, the ability to produce bacteriocins suggested itself for a crucial role in the assertiveness of starter strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-197
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
StatePublished - 20 Nov 2018


  • Assertiveness
  • Colony PCR
  • Competiveness
  • Fermentation
  • Lactic acid bacteria
  • Lactobacillus curvatus
  • Lactobacillus sakei
  • Raw fermented sausages
  • Solid-state-fermentation


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