Canadian researchers have discovered why sourdough bread is mould-resistant – and they believe this may have implications both for the taste of bread and for developing an antifungal capability in a wide range of applications.
In a study published online in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, the team from the University of Alberta, Edmonton in Canada, led by Michael Gänzle, show how sourdough differs from ordinary bread because of an extra fermentation step. In this step, lactic acid-producing bacteria convert the linoleic acid in sourdough bread flour to a compound that exhibits anti-fungal activity.
This could, said the scientists, enable the creation of better-tasting and healthier bread because preservatives can be eliminated. It may also be possible to treat seeds with the hydroxy fatty acids responsible for the inhibition of mould to make them fungus-resistant.