In sub-Saharan Africa, malnutrition occurs in various forms going from micronutrient deficiency (MND) to severe malnutrition. In this scenario, African indigenous leafy vegetables (AILVs) could help in alleviating hunger and food insecurity. Principally used by smallholder farmers as subsistence crops thanks to the ease of growing, AILVs have been reported to have valuable nutrient content. Nevertheless, rough handling coupled with microbial activities could lead to phyllosphere deterioration, hence leading to spoilage events that make the sustainable supply and consumption of AILVs difficult. Reviewing the literature regarding AILVs’ phyllosphere microbiota, some bacteria such as Pseudomonadaceae, Enterobacteriaceae, and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were commonly found. Their ability to deteriorate vegetables is known, thus stressing the necessity to valorize these commodities. In this review, fermentation was deepened as an inexpensive form of food processing to valorize AILVs, modulating the phyllosphere microbiota in favor of fermenting microorganisms. The literature revision revealed that traditional methods implying alkaline fermentation lower the levels of toxigenic compounds in AILVs such as cyanhydric acid. Novel methods involving lactic acid bacteria (LAB) fermentation were also revised. Beneficial LAB are able to control the fermentation, hindering the proliferation of spoilage (i.e. Pseudomonadaceae) and potentially pathogenic bacteria (i.e. Enterobacteriaceae). Aside, the improvement of nutritional content is achieved, obtaining increased levels of B-group vitamins, carotenoids, and the reduction of antinutrient and toxic compounds for certain AILVs. Furthermore, the AILVs’ shelf life is also prolonged, thus further conforming that the final products are valorized by the fermentation processes. Howbeit, this review also points out some weaknesses in the methods. Indeed, alkaline fermentation can allow the growth of toxin-producing Bacillus spp. that can jeopardize the consumers’ health. While the unpredictability of spontaneous LAB fermentation caused in some cases the resilience of certain pathogens such as Enterobacteriaceae. More studies involving alternative ways to inoculate LAB starters such as back slopping might be useful to perfection the fermentation methods and finally valorize AILVs.

Misci, C., Taskin, E., Vaccari, F., Dall'asta, M., Imathiu, S., Sandro Cocconcelli, P., Puglisi, E., Valorization of African Indigenous Leafy Vegetables: the Role of Phyllosphere Microbiota, <<FOOD RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL>>, 2022; (111944): 111944-111944. [doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2022.111944] [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/216165]

Valorization of African Indigenous Leafy Vegetables: the Role of Phyllosphere Microbiota

Misci, Chiara;Taskin, Eren;Vaccari, Filippo;Dall'Asta, Margherita;Sandro Cocconcelli, Pier
;
Puglisi, Edoardo
2022

Abstract

In sub-Saharan Africa, malnutrition occurs in various forms going from micronutrient deficiency (MND) to severe malnutrition. In this scenario, African indigenous leafy vegetables (AILVs) could help in alleviating hunger and food insecurity. Principally used by smallholder farmers as subsistence crops thanks to the ease of growing, AILVs have been reported to have valuable nutrient content. Nevertheless, rough handling coupled with microbial activities could lead to phyllosphere deterioration, hence leading to spoilage events that make the sustainable supply and consumption of AILVs difficult. Reviewing the literature regarding AILVs’ phyllosphere microbiota, some bacteria such as Pseudomonadaceae, Enterobacteriaceae, and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were commonly found. Their ability to deteriorate vegetables is known, thus stressing the necessity to valorize these commodities. In this review, fermentation was deepened as an inexpensive form of food processing to valorize AILVs, modulating the phyllosphere microbiota in favor of fermenting microorganisms. The literature revision revealed that traditional methods implying alkaline fermentation lower the levels of toxigenic compounds in AILVs such as cyanhydric acid. Novel methods involving lactic acid bacteria (LAB) fermentation were also revised. Beneficial LAB are able to control the fermentation, hindering the proliferation of spoilage (i.e. Pseudomonadaceae) and potentially pathogenic bacteria (i.e. Enterobacteriaceae). Aside, the improvement of nutritional content is achieved, obtaining increased levels of B-group vitamins, carotenoids, and the reduction of antinutrient and toxic compounds for certain AILVs. Furthermore, the AILVs’ shelf life is also prolonged, thus further conforming that the final products are valorized by the fermentation processes. Howbeit, this review also points out some weaknesses in the methods. Indeed, alkaline fermentation can allow the growth of toxin-producing Bacillus spp. that can jeopardize the consumers’ health. While the unpredictability of spontaneous LAB fermentation caused in some cases the resilience of certain pathogens such as Enterobacteriaceae. More studies involving alternative ways to inoculate LAB starters such as back slopping might be useful to perfection the fermentation methods and finally valorize AILVs.
Inglese
Misci, C., Taskin, E., Vaccari, F., Dall'asta, M., Imathiu, S., Sandro Cocconcelli, P., Puglisi, E., Valorization of African Indigenous Leafy Vegetables: the Role of Phyllosphere Microbiota, <<FOOD RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL>>, 2022; (111944): 111944-111944. [doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2022.111944] [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/216165]
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