Isolation and characterization of Lactobacillus helveticus DSM 20075 variants with improved autolytic capacity

Maciej Spus, Hua Liu, Michiel Wels, Tjakko Abee, Eddy J. Smid*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Lactobacillus helveticus is widely used in dairy fermentations and produces a range of enzymes, which upon cell lysis can be released into the cheese matrix and impact degradation of proteins, peptides and lipids. In our study we set out to explore the potential of Lb. helveticus DSM 20075 for increased autolytic capacity triggered by conditions such as low pH and high salt concentrations encountered in cheese environments. Lb. helveticus DSM 20075 was subjected to varied incubation temperatures (ranging from 37 to 50 °C). High-temperature incubation (in the range of 45 to 50 °C) allowed us to obtain a collection of six variant strains (V45-V50), which in comparison to the wild-type strain, showed higher growth rates at elevated temperatures (42 °C–45 °C). Moreover, variant strain V50 showed a 4-fold higher, in comparison to wild type, autolytic capacity in cheese-like conditions. Next, strain V50 was used as an adjunct in lab-scale cheese making trials to measure its impact on aroma formation during ripening. Specifically, in cheeses made with strain V50, the relative abundance of benzaldehyde increased 3-fold compared to cheeses made with the wild-type strain. Analysis of the genome sequence of strain V50 revealed multiple mutations in comparison to the wild-type strain DSM 20075 including a mutation found in a gene coding for a metal ion transporter, which can potentially be linked to intracellular accumulation of Mn2 + and benzaldehyde formation. The approach of high-temperature incubation can be applied in dairy industry for the selection of (adjunct) cultures targeted at accelerated cheese ripening and aroma formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-180
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Adjunct
  • Aroma
  • Autolysis
  • Cheese
  • Ripening
  • Starter


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