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Lactic Acid Bacteria as Cell Factories for the Generation of Bioactive Peptides

[ Vol. 24 , Issue. 2 ]


Lucia Brown, Esteban Vera Pingitore, Fernanda Mozzi, Lucila Saavedra, Josefina M. Villegas and Elvira M. Hebert   Pages 146 - 155 ( 10 )


There is a growing interest in the incorporation of functional foods in the daily diet to achieve health promotion and disease risk reduction. Numerous studies have focused on the production of biologically active peptides as nutraceuticals and functional food ingredients due to their health benefits. These short peptides, displaying antihypertensive, antioxidant, mineral binding, immunomodulatory and antimicrobial activities are hidden in a latent state within the primary sequences of food proteins requiring enzymatic proteolysis for their release. While microbial fermentation is one of the major and economically most convenient processes used to generate bioactive peptides, lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are widely used as starter cultures for the production of diverse fermented foods. This article reviews the current knowledge on LAB as cell factories for the production of bioactive peptides from a variety of food protein sources. These microorganisms depend on a complex proteolytic system to ensure successful fermentation processes. In the dairy industry, LAB containing cell envelope-associated proteinases (CEPs) are employed as biocatalysts for the first step of casein breakdown releasing bioactive peptides during milk fermentation. A better understanding of the functionality and regulation of the proteolytic system of LAB opens up future opportunities for the production of novel food-derived compounds with potential health-promoting properties.


Lactic acid bacteria, bioactive peptides, proteinases, proteolytic system, antihypertensive peptides, milk fermentation.


Laboratory of Technology, CERELA-CONICET, Chacabuco 145, 4000, San Miguel de Tucuman, Tucuman

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