Several lactic acid bacteria produce exopolysaccharides (EPS), either attached to the cell wall or excreted into the environment as slime material. EPS produced by Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus (Lb. bulgaricus) and Streptococcus thermophilus play an important role in improving the texture and stability of yogurt and preventing syneresis (Cerning, 1990; Nakajima et al. 1990). The amount and composition of the EPS produced by lactic acid bacteria are dependent on a number of factors, such as temperature, initial pH, carbon source and the availability of minerals, vitamins and other medium components.
In previous work it was shown that the production and sugar composition of the EPS from Lb. bulgaricus NCFB2772 are affected by the carbohydrate source (Grobben et al. 1995, 1996). In a simplified defined medium, from which several vitamins and trace elements were omitted, EPS production by Lb. bulgaricus significantly increased, although growth of the strain was reduced (Grobben et al. 1998).
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