The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Speaking of Lactobacilli.....

karladiane's picture

Speaking of Lactobacilli.....

Hi all:

Just a very geeky fyi for those who are microbiologically curious...

A recent paper published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology looked at the various species of Lactobacillus in the bakery environments of 2 artisan bakeries in Belgium (Scheirlinck et al., 2009).  They took samples from the flour, the hands of the bakers, the air, and from the bakery equipment and concluded that:  (i)  each bakery had a dominant mix of Lactobacillus species (L. spicheri and L. plantarum in one bakery; and mostly L. sanfranciscensis in the other) and (ii) the bacteria did, indeed, circulate around the entire bakery environment.

The authors concluded that these specific strains persist in the doughs over years, and that the air is, indeed, an important carrier of the bacteria.  Mostly, though, they were just testing out some methods that they wanted to validate. They also point out that bacteria of the genera Enterococcus, Leuconostoc, Pediococcus, and Weissella are also very plentiful in flour.

However, I'll bet that they really did the study to get some free loaves.





Crider's picture

Some proof that bacteria are found simply floating in the air. Otherwise, how would they be identifying L. sanfranciscensis at so many locations over the world?

SteveB's picture

I don't think anyone disputes the fact that yeast and bacteria can travel on air currents.  What has been disputed, and rightly so, is the contention that it is the yeast and bacteria in the air that innoculate a new starter, rather than the yeast and bacteria that are already present, in orders of magnitude greater concentration, on the grain itself.



Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Also, I don't think anyone would dispute that these organisms are likely to be found in abundance throughout a bakery environment, where pounds of flour are tossed around every day, along with the handling and surface contact with lots of dough, and natural starters. I think it would be rather impossible to prevent them from becoming airborne :-)

xaipete's picture

This is interesting stuff. I remember reading something like this in one of Peter Reinhart's books.