Modulation of the food microbiome by apple fruit processing

The role of the indigenous microbiota of fruits as a source for beneficial gut microbes, especially during food processing, is largely unknown. During the early life, introduction to external exposures such as consumption of solid foods contribute to the development of the gut microbiota. Among solid foods, fruit and vegetables are normally consumed during early childhood making them key components of a healthy human diet.

We investigated the apple fruit microbiota before and after processing using functional assays, advanced microscopic as well as sequencing technologies. We found that heat and mechanical treatment substantially affected the fruit’s microbiota following a declining gradient of absolute bacterial abundance and bacterial diversity from shredded > boiled > pureed > preserved > dried apples.

Our findings provide novel insights into food microbial changes during processing and demonstrate that food microbiome studies need a combined methodological approach. Food inhabiting microbes, currently considered being a risk factor for food safety, are a potential resource for the infant gut microbiome.

Wicaksono WA, Buko A, Kusstatscher P, Sinkkonen A, Laitinen OH, Virtanen SM, Hyƶty H, Cernava T, Berg G. 2022. Modulation of the food microbiome by apple fruit processing. Food Microbiology 108: 104103.

Read more