Sauerkraut: A Probiotic Superfood
Background: Sauerkraut could potentially be a probiotic superfood. Sauerkraut does not require the use of a starter culture to cultivate these beneficial bacteria. All that is needed is a measure of salt and the cabbage. Naturally made, unprocessed sauerkraut contains probiotic microorganisms called Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB). LAB is one of the most significant organisms and has established benefits. For example, Lactic Acid Bacteria has established benefits with the treatment of diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, infections (urogenital, urinary and candida). LAB have also been shown to enhance immune system function to help prevent various illnesses and promote lactose digestion. Nevertheless, there is very little conclusive evidence on how much LAB is in sauerkraut and if there is enough present to confer benefits.
Purpose: Determine if various serving sizes of homemade sauerkraut (2 Tbsp., 1⁄2 cup, & 1 cup) meets the recommended CFU range in comparison to a control (supplement probiotic).
Methods: Sauerkraut was prepared with no starter culture. Modified Lactobacillus Media was used to culture LAB. The capsule serving (0.8g) was diluted with 99.2g PBS (1/100) and 10g of sauerkraut was diluted with 90g PBS (1/10). For serial dilutions, 1mL of each of the samples was diluted into 9 mL MRS broth for the dilutions (10-1-10-10). Then 1mL from each test tube is transferred into corresponding petri dishes. Melted Lactobacillus MRS agar is then mixed into each of the petri dishes. All petri dishes are then placed into a candle light jar and placed in an incubator at 37 degrees Celsius (98.6oF) for 5 days. After five days, the petri dishes with 25-250 visible cultures were counted. The number counted was multiplied by the dilution which gave the total number CFUs/g. The LAB concentration of the sauerkraut was calculated by multiplying the CFU/g times the serving size.
Results: The results were calculated as the mean of CFUs recorded from the 3 trials for both the control (supplement) and the sauerkraut. The control group was calculated as a mean of 4.3x107 CFUs with a Relative Standard Deviation (RSD) of 3.5% CFUs. The sauerkraut averages were calculated for each of the serving sizes. The 2 Tbsp. serving has a mean of 1.5x106 (RSD= 32%), the 1⁄2 cup has a mean of 5.9x106 (RSD= 31%), and the 1 cup serving has a mean of 1.2x107 (RSD= 30%).
Conclusion: The study concludes that sauerkraut (even the two Tbsp. serving) meets the recommended CFU range. Based on these findings, sauerkraut can be considered a “probiotic superfood”.
Keywords: Sauerkraut, probiotic superfood, supplement probiotic, Lactobacillus
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