Stimulation of nisin production from whey by a mixed culture of Lactococcus lactis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Chuanbin Liu, Bo Hu, Yan Liu, Shulin Chen

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25 Scopus citations


The production of nisin, a natural food preservative, by Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis (ATCC 11454) is associated with the simultaneous formation of lactic acid during fermentation in a whey-based medium. As a result of the low concentration and high separation cost of lactic acid, recovering lactic acid as a product may not be economical, but its removal from the fermentation broth is important because the accumulation of lactic acid inhibits nisin biosynthesis. In this study, lactic acid removal was accomplished by biological means. A mixed culture of L. lactis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae was established in order to stimulate the production of nisin via the in situ consumption of lactic acid by the yeast strain, which is capable of utilizing lactic acid as carbon source. The S. cerevisiae in the mixed culture did not compete with the nisin-producing bacteria because the yeast does not utilize lactose, the major carbohydrate in whey for bacterial growth and nisin production. The results showed that lactic acid produced by the bacteria was almost totally utilized by the yeast and the pH of the mixed culture could be maintained at around 6.0. Nisin production by the mixed culture system reached 150.3 mg/L, which was 0.85 times higher than that by a pure culture of L. lactis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-761
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was carried out under a grant from the Washington State Dairy Product Commission. Special thanks are given to WesternFarm Food Inc. (Seattle, WA) for providing cheese whey for the experiments.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Fermentation
  • Mixed culture
  • Nisin
  • Whey

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