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Next-generation sequencing approaches for improvement of lactic acid bacteria-fermented plant-based beverages

1 Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, 2841 Royal University Hospital, 103 Hospital Drive, Saskatoon, SK Canada S7N 0W8
2 VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd., PL1000, 02044VTT, Espoo, Finland

Topical Section: Lactic Acid Bacteria: Genetics, Metabolism and Applications

Plant-based beverages and milk alternatives produced from cereals and legumes have grown in popularity in recent years due to a range of consumer concerns over dairy products. These plant-based products can often have undesirable physiochemical properties related to flavour, texture, and nutrient availability and/or deficiencies. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) fermentation offers potential remediation for many of these issues, and allows consumers to retain their perception of the resultant products as natural and additive-free. Using next-generation sequencing (NGS) or omics approaches to characterize LAB isolates to find those that will improve properties of plant-based beverages is the most direct way to product improvement. Although NGS/omics approaches have been extensively used for selection of LAB for use in the dairy industry, a comparable effort has not occurred for selecting LAB for fermenting plant raw substrates, save those used in producing wine and certain types of beer. Here we review the few and recent applications of NGS/omics to profile and improve LAB fermentation of various plant-based substrates for beverage production. We also identify specific issues in the production of various LAB fermented plant-based beverages that such NGS/omics applications have the power to resolve.
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