Masau are Zimbabwean wild fruits, which are usually eaten raw and/ or processed into products such as porridge, traditional cakes, mahewu and jam. Yeasts, yeast-like fungi, and lactic acid bacteria present on the unripe, ripe and dried fruits, and in the fermented masau fruits collected from Muzarabani district in Zimbabwe were isolated and identified using physiological and molecular methods. The predominant species were identified as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Issatchenkia orientalis, Pichia fabianii and Aureobasidium pullulans. A. pullulans was the dominant species on the unripe fruits but was not isolated from the fermented fruit pulp. S. cerevisiae and I. orientalis were predominant in the fermented fruit pulp but were not detected in the unripe fruits. S. cerevisiae, I. orientalis, P. fabianii and S. fibuligera are fermentative yeasts and these might be used in the future development of starter cultures to produce better quality fermented products from masau fruit. Lactic acid bacteria were preliminary identified and the predominant strains found were Lactobacillus agilis and L. plantarum. Other species identified included L. bifermentans, L. minor, L. divergens, L. confusus, L. hilgardii, L. fructosus, L. fermentum and Streptococcus spp. Some of the strains of LAB could also potentially be used in a mixed-starter culture with yeasts and might contribute positively in the production of fermented masau fruit products.
- ribosomal dna