Factors influencing the membrane fluidity and the impact on production of lactic acid bacteria starters

  • Fernanda FonsecaEmail author
  • Caroline Pénicaud
  • E. Elizabeth Tymczyszyn
  • Andrea Gómez-Zavaglia
  • Stéphanie Passot


Production of lactic acid bacteria starters for manufacturing food, probiotic, and chemical products requires the application of successive steps: fermentation, concentration, stabilization, and storage. Despite process optimization, losses of bacterial viability and functional activities are observed after stabilization and storage steps due to cell exposure to environmental stresses (thermal, osmotic, mechanical, and oxidative). Bacterial membrane is the primary target for injury and its damage is highly dependent on its physical properties and lipid organization. Membrane fluidity is a key property for maintaining cell functionality, and depends on lipid composition and cell environment. Extensive evidence has been reported on changes in membrane fatty acyl chains when modifying fermentation conditions. However, a deep characterization of membrane physical properties and their evolution following production processes is scarcely reported. Therefore, the aims of this mini-review are (i) to define the membrane fluidity and the methods used to assess it and (ii) to summarize the effect of environmental conditions on membrane fluidity and the resulting impact on the resistance of lactic acid bacteria to the stabilization processes. This will make it possible to highlight existing gaps of knowledge and opens up novel approaches for future investigations.


Fluorescence anisotropy Lipid phase transition Preservation processes Environmental stress 



This work has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 777657.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMR GMPA, AgroParisTech, INRAUniversité Paris-SaclayThiverval-GrignonFrance
  2. 2.Laboratorio de Microbiología Molecular, Departamento de Ciencia y TecnologíaUniversidad Nacional de QuilmesBernalArgentina
  3. 3.Center for Research and Development in Food Cryotechnology (CIDCA, CCT-CONICET La Plata)La PlataArgentina

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