Leuconostoc is a genus of gram-positive bacteria, placed within the family of Leuconostocaceae. They are generally ovoid cocci that often form chains. Leuconostoc strains are linked to a few negative aspects, including spoilage in the sugar cane industry and food products by the formation of slime, and safety as they have been identified in human clinical isolates. However, the history of human exposure and consumption has led to the conclusion that Leuconostoc is a microorganism generally regarded as safe.
Leuconostoc strains have economic importance related to numerous positive aspects:
- Fermentation of foodstuffs (sauerkraut, pickles, meat products, etc.).
- Production of gas (CO2) in cheeses presenting openness (in particular Blue-veined cheeses).
- Production of flavor compounds in multiple dairy products.
- In situ production of dextran in saccharose containing (dairy) products, or as high-value polymers for industrial or clinical use, or as a biological auxiliary in the oil industry.
- Potential roles in functional foods.