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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Division: Firmicutes
Class: Bacilli
Order: Lactobacillales
Family: Leuconostocaceae
Genus: Leuconostoc
van Tieghem 1878

L. carnosum
L. citreum
L. durionis
L. fallax
L. ficulneum
L. fructosum
L. garlicum
L. gasicomitatum
L. gelidum
L. inhae
L. kimchii
L. lactis
L. mesenteroides
L. pseudoficulneum
L. pseudomesenteroides

Leuconostoc[1] is a genus of Gram-positive bacteria, placed within the family of Leuconostocaceae. They are generally ovoid cocci often forming chains. Leuconostoc spp. are intrinsically resistant to vancomycin and are catalase-negative (which distinguishes them from staphylococci). All species within this genus are heterofermentative and are able to produce dextran from sucrose. They are generally slime-forming.

Blamed for causing the 'stink' when creating a sourdough starter, some species are also capable of causing human infection.[2] Because they are an uncommon cause of disease in humans, standard commercial identification kits are often unable to identify the organism.[3]

Leuconostoc is, along with other lactic acid bacteria such as Pediococcus and Lactobacillus, responsible for the fermentation of cabbage, making it sauerkraut. It is similarly part of the symbiotic colonies of microbes involved in the fermentation of kefir, a fermented milk beverage.[4] In this process, the sugars in fresh cabbage are transformed to lactic acid which gives it a sour flavour and good keeping qualities.


  1. ^ Björkroth, J., and W. Holzapfel. 2006. Genera Leuconostoc, Oenococcus and Weissella, p.267 -319. In M. Dworkin (ed.), The prokaryotes: a handbook on the biology of bacteria: Firmicutes, Cyanobacteria, vol. 4, 3rd ed. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY. [1]
  2. ^ Vagiakou-Voudris E, Mylona-Petropoulou D, Kalogeropoulou E, Chantzis A, Chini S, Tsiodra P, Malamou-Lada E (2002). "Scand J Infect Dis". Scandinavian journal of infectious diseases. 34 (10): 766–7. doi:10.1080/00365540260348572. PMID 12477331. 
  3. ^ Kulwichit W, Nilgate S, Chatsuwan T, et al. (2007). "Accuracies of Leuconostoc phenotypic identification: a comparison of API systems and conventional phenotypic assays". BMC Infectious Diseases. 7: 69. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-69. PMC 1947989Freely accessible. PMID 17605772. 
  4. ^ Farnworth, Edward R (4 April 2005). "Kefir-a complex probiotic" (PDF). Food Science and Technology Bulletin: Functional Foods. 2 (1): 1–17. doi:10.1616/1476-2137.13938. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 

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