Author(s): Bhardwaj A, Malik RK, Chauhan P
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Abstract The genus Enterococcus like other LAB has also been featured in dairy industry for decades due to its specific biochemical traits such as lipolysis, proteolysis, and citrate breakdown, hence contributing typical taste and flavor to the dairy foods. Furthermore, the production of bacteriocins by enterococci (enterocins) is well documented. These technological applications have led to propose enterococci as adjunct starters or protective cultures in fermented foods. Moreover, enterococci are nowadays promoted as probiotics, which are claimed for the maintenance of normal intestinal microflora, stimulation of the immune system and improvement of nutritional value of foods. At the same time, enterococci present an emerging pool of opportunistic pathogens for humans as they cause disease, possess agents for antibiotic resistance, and are frequently armed with potential virulence factors. Because of this "dualistic" nature, the use of enterococci remains a debatable issue. However, based on a long history of safe association of particular enterococci with some traditional food fermentations, the use of such strains appears to bear no particular risk for human health. Abundance of knowledge as well as progress in molecular techniques has, however, enabled exact characterization and safety assessment of strains. Therefore, a balanced evaluation of both, beneficial and undesirable nature of enterococci is required. A clear understanding of their status may, therefore, allow their safe use as a starter, or a probiotic strain. The present review describes the broader insight of the benefits and risks of enterococci in dairy foods and their safety assessment.
This article was published in Indian J Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals