Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis biovar diacetylactis and Leuconostoc mesenteroides are considered to be the main aroma producers in Dutch-type cheeses. Both species of lactic acid bacteria were grown in retentostat mono- and co-cultures to investigate their interaction at near-zero growth rates and to determine if co-cultivation enhances the aroma complexity compared to single species performance. During retentostat mono-cultures, the growth rates of both species decreased to less than 0.001 h −1 and a large fraction of the cells became viable but not culturable. Compared to Lc. mesenteroides, L. lactis reached a 3.4-fold higher biomass concentration caused by i) a higher ATP yield on substrate, ii) a higher biomass yield on ATP and iii) a lower maintenance requirement (m ATP ). Dynamic models estimated that the m ATP of both species decreased approximately 7-fold at near-zero growth rates compared to high growth rates. Extension of these models by assuming equal substrate distribution resulted in excellent prediction of the biomass accumulation in retentostat co-cultures with L. lactis dominating (100:1) as observed in ripened cheese. Despite its low abundance (∼1%), Lc. mesenteroides contributed to aroma production in co-cultures as indicated by the presence of all 5 specific Lc. mesenteroides compounds. This study provides insights in the production of cheese aroma compounds outside the cheese matrix by co-cultures of L. lactis and Lc. mesenteroides, which could be used as food supplements in dairy or non-dairy products.
- Mixed culture
- Near-zero growth rate