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Acetic Acid Bacteria in the Food Industry: Systematics, Characteristics and Applications

Rodrigo José Gomes1orcid tiny, Maria de Fatima Borges2orcid tiny, Morsyleide de Freitas Rosa2orcid tiny, Raúl Jorge Hernan
orcid tiny and Wilma Aparecida Spinosa1*orcid tiny

1Department of Food Science and Technology, State University of Londrina, Celso Garcia Cid (PR 445) Road, 86057-970 Londrina, PR, Brazil
2Embrapa Tropical Agroindustry, 2270 Dra. Sara Mesquita Road, 60511-110 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil

Article history:
Received: 6 November 2017
Accepted: 30 January 2018

Key words:
acetic acid bacteria, taxonomy, vinegar, bacterial cellulose, biotechnological products

The group of Gram-negative bacteria capable of oxidising ethanol to acetic acid is called acetic acid bacteria (AAB). They are widespread in nature and play an important role in the production of food and beverages, such as vinegar and kombucha. The ability to oxidise ethanol to acetic acid also allows the unwanted growth of AAB in other fermented beverages, such as wine, cider, beer and functional and soft beverages, causing an undesirable sour taste. These bacteria are also used in the production of other metabolic products, for example, gluconic acid, l-sorbose and bacterial cellulose, with potential applications in the food and biomedical industries. The classification of AAB into distinct genera has undergone several modifications over the last years, based on morphological, physiological and genetic characteristics. Therefore, this review focuses on the history of taxonomy, biochemical aspects and methods of isolation, identification and quantification of AAB, mainly related to those with important biotechnological applications.

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