M. M. Katiku*, J. W. Matofari and J. M. Nduko
1Department of Food Science and Technology,
Egerton University: +254701922176
*Corresponding Author: email@example.com
Fermented foods have been associated with probiotic bacteria hence, are considered as functional foods since they provide health beneficial effects to the body. Functional foods are gaining popularity in the world, as people are becoming aware of their eating habits. In most African traditional fermented foods Lactobacillus plantarum has been found to be the most predominant microorganism. Lactobacillus plantarum (widespread member of the genus Lactobacillus) is one of the most studied species used in food industry as probiotic microorganisms and/or microbial starters. Lactobacillus. plantarum has been isolated in most of traditional fermented foods because of its versatility and metabolic capabilities hence able to survive in various environmental niches. Their long history in food fermentation forms an emerging field of value addition using L. plantarum strains. Its functional properties especially probiotic properties have been studied. This enables it to be used to produce new functional (traditional and novel) foods and beverages with improved nutritional value and potential health benefits. This review captures the functional characteristics of the L. plantarum strains with their probiotic properties, ability to remove cholesterol, increase food safety, digestibility and shelf-life of African fermented foods especially in food product development thereby contributing to food security.
Keywords: Fermentation, Functional characteristics, Lactobacillus plantarum