The family Leuconostocaceae

Timo T. Nieminen, Elina Säde, Akihito Endo, Per Johansson, Johanna Björkroth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Leuconostocaceae are lactic acid bacteria (LAB) belonging to
order Lactobacillales. The family consists of genera Leuconostoc,
Weissella, Oenococcus, and Fructobacillus. The genus Leuconostoc
was described already in 1878 by van Tieghem. The oldest
described species belonging to Oenococcus and Fructobacillus
were originally described as Leuconostoc spp. but were later
reclassified based on phenotypic and phylogenetic studies.
Genus Weissella contains species originally classified as
Leuconostoc or Lactobacillus spp.
Like other LAB, Leuconostocaceae are Gram positive, catalase
negative, and chemoorganotrophic. They grow in rich media
supplemented with growth factors and amino acids and generate
energy by substrate-level phosphorylation. Leuconostocaceae ferment
glucose heterofermentatively yielding lactic acid, CO2,
ethanol, and/or acetate.
Leuconostocaceae are found in environments with high
nutrient content, e.g., on green vegetation, roots, and food.
Within LAB, Leuconostocaceae are characterized by their
adaptable fermentation patterns that enable efficient generation
of ATP from carbohydrates and, consequently, enhanced
growth. Due to their ability to grow rapidly in rich media
under elevated CO2 concentration at moderate temperatures,
Leuconostocaceae are competitive in various food environments
and contribute to a number of fermentation processes. The
diverse fermentation substrates and products of Leuconostocaceae
may cause desired or undesired effects on the organoleptic
quality of foods.
This contribution is a modified and updated version of previous
descriptions of the family (Schleifer, 2009) and the included
genera (Bjo¨rkroth et al., 2009; Bjo¨rkroth and Holzapfel, 2006;
Dicks and Holzapfel, 2009; Holzapfel et al., 2009).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Prokaryotes : Firmicutes and Tenericutes
EditorsEugene Rosenberg, Edward F. DeLong, Stephen Lory, Erko Stackebrandt, Fabiano Thompson
Number of pages26
Place of PublicationBerlin
Publication date19 Oct 2014
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-30119-3
ISBN (Electronic) 978-3-642-30120-9
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2014
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Fields of Science

  • 413 Veterinary science

Cite this