Fermentation and microflora of plaa-som, a Thai fermented fish product prepared with different salt concentrations

Christine Paludan-Müller, M. Madsen, P. Sophanodora, Lone Gram, P.L. Møller

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Plaa-som is a Thai fermented fish product prepared from snakehead fish, salt, palm syrup and sometimes roasted rice. We studied the effects of different salt concentrations on decrease in pH and on microflora composition during fermentation. Two low-salt batches were prepared, containing 6% and 7% salt (w/w) as well as two high-salt batches, containing 9% and 11% salt. pH decreased rapidly from 6 to 4.5 in low-salt batches, whereas in high-salt batches, a slow or no decrease in pH was found. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeasts were isolated as the dominant microorganisms during fermentation. LAB counts increased to 108-109 cfu g-1 and yeast counts to 107-5 x 107 cfu g-1 in all batches, except in the 11% salt batch, where counts were 1-2 log lower. Phenotypic tests, ITS-PCR, carbohydrate fermentations and 16S rRNA gene sequencing identified LAB isolates as Pediococcus pentosaceus, Lactobacillus alimentarius/farciminis, Weisella confusa, L. plantarum and Lactococcus garviae. The latter species was only isolated from high-salt batches. Phenotypic characteristics, ITS-PCR and carbohydrate assimilation identified 95% of the yeasts as Zygosaccharomyces rouxii. It is concluded that the fermentation of plaa-som is delayed by a salt-level of 9% due to an inhibition of LAB growth. The growth of Z. rouxii has no influence on the fermentation rate, but may contribute positively to the flavour development of the product.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)61-70
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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