What bacteria is in tepache?

Answered by Frank Schwing

Tepache is a traditional Mexican fermented beverage made from pineapple peels, water, and sugar. As with any fermented food or drink, the bacteria present during the fermentation process play a crucial role in shaping the final product. In the case of tepache, two specific bacteria have been found to be commonly present: Lactococcus lactis and Enterococcus faecium.

Lactococcus lactis is a lactic acid bacteria commonly used in the production of dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. It is known for its ability to convert sugars into lactic acid, which contributes to the sour taste and preservation of fermented foods. In the case of tepache, Lactococcus lactis likely contributes to the fermentation process by converting the sugars in the pineapple peels into lactic acid, resulting in the characteristic tangy flavor of the beverage.

Enterococcus faecium, on the other hand, is a bacterium commonly found in the intestines of animals, including humans. It is known for its ability to survive in harsh environments, such as acidic conditions, and its resistance to antibiotics. In the context of tepache, Enterococcus faecium may contribute to the fermentation process by producing enzymes that break down complex sugars in the pineapple peels, making them more accessible for other bacteria to ferment.

Interestingly, both Lactococcus lactis and Enterococcus faecium have been found to produce bacteriocins, which are antimicrobial peptides that can inhibit the growth of other bacteria. In the case of these bacteria in tepache, the bacteriocins they produce are likely responsible for inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, thus helping to preserve the beverage and ensure its safety for consumption.

It is worth noting that the presence of Lactococcus lactis and Enterococcus faecium in tepache was identified through the use of a molecular technique called 16S rDNA sequencing. This technique allows scientists to identify and classify bacteria based on their unique genetic sequences. By comparing the genetic sequences obtained from the bacteria present in tepache to known sequences in a database, researchers were able to determine the specific bacteria present in the beverage.

The bacteria commonly found in tepache are Lactococcus lactis and Enterococcus faecium. These bacteria contribute to the fermentation process, producing lactic acid and breaking down sugars in the pineapple peels. They also produce bacteriocins, which help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and contribute to the preservation of the beverage. The identification of these bacteria in tepache was made possible through the use of 16S rDNA sequencing, a molecular technique that allows for the classification of bacteria based on their genetic sequences.