pH-Sensing 96-well microtitre plates for the characterization of acid production by dairy starter cultures
A new method for characterization of acid production by dairy starter cultures is presented. Microplates with integrated optical pH sensors are developed. Two fluorophores, a pH-sensitive and a pH-insensitive one are immobilised at the bottom of a polystyrene 96-well microtitre plate. The pH-insensitive fluorophore serves as an internal reference and makes calibration unnecessary. The sensor measures pH accurately in optically well-defined media. Particles and fluorophores contained in the bulk medium disturbed the measurements. Despite these disturbances it was possible to clearly sense differences in inoculum type and in inoculum sizes of cultures of Lactococcus lactis and of Streptococcus thermophilus at 30 and 37°C. Besides a pH-related signal there is information about other changes during milk fermentation. The cultivation results were compared with those from the established CINAC-method. From this comparison it can be concluded that the new method can be used reliably to characterize particularly a large number of strains for screening purposes but also for quality control.(Received October 6 2001)
(Accepted February 13 2003)
Key Words: Optical pH sensing; microtitre plate; dairy starter culture; acid production; Lactococcus lactis; Streptococcus thermophilus.
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