Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2013, 4, 40-46
Published Online November 2013 (
Open Access FNS
Predominant Lactic Acid Bacteria Involved in the
Traditional Fermentation of Fufu and Ogi, Two Nigerian
Fermented Food Products
Olaoluwa Oyedeji1*, Samuel Temitope Ogunbanwo2, Anthony Abiodun Onilude2
1Department of Microbiology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria; 2Department of Microbiology, University of Ibadan,
Ibadan, Nigeria.
Email: *
Received August 28th, 2013; revised September 28th, 2013; accepted October 5th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Olaoluwa Oyedeji et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution Li-
cense, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Traditional methods of preparation were simulated in the laboratory fermentations of cassava and maize to produce fufu
and ogi respectively. Changes in pH, temperature and titratable acidity, as well as the diversity of lactic acid bacteria
species were investigated during both fermentations. Lactic acid bacteria strains involved in the fermentation processes
were isolated at twelve hourly intervals, characterized and identified using phenotypic and biochemical methods. A rapid
decrease in pH, 5.6 to 3.7 in fufu and 5.9 to 3.8 in ogi, were observed with temperature increasing from 26˚C to 30˚C and
25˚C to 31˚C in fufu and ogi respectively. Most of the lactic acid bacteria strains isolated were homofermentative and
heterofermentative Lactobacillus species and heterofermentative Leuconostoc species. Lactobacillus plantarum and
Leuconostoc mesenteroides were the dominant lactic acid bacteria species in fufu while L. cellobiosus, L. plantarum and
Lc. lactis were dominant in ogi fermentation. An ecological succession pattern in which Leuconostoc species were mostly
isolated during early stages of fermentation with the final stages populated with Lactobacillus species was observed in
both cases and is attributable to differential acid tolerance of the two genera. The frequencies of dominance of the strains
in fufu were L. plantarum (56.25%), Lc. mesenteroides (18.75%), L. lactis (6.25%), L. coprophillus (6.25%), L. aci-
dophilus (6.25%) and L. brevis (6.25%). The frequencies of dominance in ogi were L. cellobiosus (26.6%), Lc. lactis
(26.6%), L. plantarum (20.0%), L. acidophil us (13.33%) and Lc. pa r am ese n te ro i des (13.33%). The dominant strains can
serve as potential starter cultures for fufu and ogi production.
Keywords: Lactic Acid Bacteria; Fermentation; Fufu; Ogi; Cassava; Maize; Fermented Foods
1. Introduction
Fermented foods are consumed throughout the world and
traditional fermentation processes such as those involved
in the production of fermented dairy products and alco-
holic beverages have been performed for thousands of
years [1]. These food products result from the activities
of microorganisms which modify the flavour and texture
and increase long term product stability [2]. Lactic acid
bacteria constitute an important group of these organisms
and have been associated with production of fermented
foods and feeds for many centuries [3]. They are impor-
tant in the production of many fermented foods such as
sauerkraut, silage, sourdough, dry fermented sausages
and cheeses [4]. Some of the reasons for their widespread
use are the ability to retard spoilage, preserve food as
well as improve flavour and texture of foods. They also
play fundamental role in microbial ecology of foods by
synthesizing a variety of antimicrobial compounds such
as organic acids, hydrogen peroxide, diacetyl and bacte-
riocins [5,6]. They are thus able to inhibit many micro-
organisms including spoilage and pathogenic organisms.
They are increasingly being recognised for their health
and nutritional benefits hence some strains are used as
probiotics [7-10].
Among the many African, traditionally fermented
foodstuffs are fufu and ogi. Fufu, a product of an acid-
fermented cassava root tuber serves as main course meals
in most areas of Nigeria and Africa as a whole [11]. It is
prepared by natural fermentation which transforms the
cassava root from rapid spoilage after harvest as cassava
*Corresponding author.
Predominant Lactic Acid Bacteria involved in the Traditional Fermentation of Fufu and Ogi, Two Nigerian Fermented
Food Products
roots are more perishable than other tuber crops such as
yam and sweet potato. Cassava (Manihot esculenta) is a
perennial woody shrub with an edible root which grows
in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world [12]. In
Africa and Latin America, it is mostly used for human
consumption, while in Asia and parts of Latin America, it
is also used commercially for the production of animal
feeds and starch-based products [13]. Other products ob-
tained from fermented cassava roots are gari and lafun.
Ogi, an acid-fermented cereal gruel, is a major staple
sour porridge food widely taken in West Africa. It also
serves as the traditional infant weaning food [11]. It is
generally obtained by fermenting maize grains (Zea
In general, a wide spectrum of microorganisms is in-
volved during fermentation processes but a few types
usually determine the quality of the end product [14]. Gi-
ven adequate environmental conditions, a particular mi-
crobial community will determine the quality of a spe-
cific food. The origin, development and succession of a
particular microbial community in any food are thus
governed by its ecological factors, which influence the
physiological expression of microbial cells [15]. Thus
strategies for food processing and preservation can be
developed on the basis of ecological factors associated
with specific foods and beverages [16].
Yeasts and wide varieties of bacteria strains were
found to be associated with the fermentation of cassava
roots and cereal grains where they contribute signifi-
cantly to starch breakdown, acidification, detoxification
and flavour enhancement [17]. Yeasts and lactic acid
bacteria are therefore the most common microorganisms
in a wide variety of traditional food and beverage fer-
mentations [18]. Lactic acid bacteria are found in various
stages of fermentation processes where they are useful in
flavour and aroma development. They also inhibit spoi-
lage bacteria and pathogens and confer several intestinal
health and other health benefits related to blood choles-
terol levels, immune competence and antibiotics [19].
The quality of the final product is a factor of the diversity
and composition of microorganisms and their dynamics
and frequency of occurrence. The objective of this re-
search was therefore to isolate and characterize predo-
minant lactic acid bacteria species during the course of
traditional fufu and ogi fermentations.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Collection of Raw Materials
Unbroken maize grains (Zea mays) and freshly harvested
cassava root tubers (Manihot esculenta) were obtained
from the Bodija market in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.
They were brought in sterile polythene bags to the labo-
ratory for immediate processing.
2.2. Laboratory Preparation of Fufu and Ogi
The laboratory fermentation of cassava tubers and maize
grains to produce fufu and ogi respectively, were carried
out by simulating the traditional methods of processing
(Figures 1 and 2).
2.3. Physicochemical Analysis
The hydrogen ion concentration (pH) and temperature
changes of the fermenting cassava mash and maize
grains were measured at twenty four hourly intervals for
72 h using a Pye-Unicam pH meter and Mercury thermo-
meter respectively [20]. The total titratable acid was
determined as percentage lactic acid by titrating 25 ml of
the samples used for pH determinations against 0.1 N
NaOH. The volumes of the 0.1 N NaOH used were noted.
Duplicate determinations were made for each analysis
2.4. Microbiological Isolation
Twenty five millilitre portions were aseptically removed
at different stages of fermentation processes: raw water
used for steeping cassava roots and maize grains; steep
Cassava tubers
Wa shing
Steeping/Fermentation (72 hours) at ambient temperatures
Wet Fufu (Cassava starch) Cooking Fufu
Figure 1. Traditional method of fufu processing.
Maize grains
Wa shing
Steeping/Fermentation (72 hours) at ambient temperatures
Wet milling
Further Fermentation
Ogi slurry Boiling Ogi porridge
Figure 2. Traditional method of ogi processing.
Open Access FNS
Predominant Lactic Acid Bacteria involved in the Traditional Fermentation of Fufu and Ogi, Two Nigerian Fermented
Food Products
waters (sampled each day for 72 h); water used for mash-
ing steeped cassava and for milling ogi; the steep water
used further fermentation of ogi and the final products of
fermentation. Each sample was homogenized with 200
ml sterile 0.1% peptone water (Oxoid, UK). This was
then serially diluted and 0.1 ml from appropriate dilu-
tions were spread plated on MRS agar plates (Oxoid, UK)
in duplicates and incubated in Gas Pak jars (GasPak
System, BBL) at 30˚C for 72 h. Colonies with distinct
morphological differences such as colour, size and sha-
pes were randomly picked from MRS agar plates as pre-
sumptive lactic acid bacteria isolates and repeatedly
streaked on fresh MRS agar plates to purify the isolates.
They were then maintained on appropriate slants at 4˚C.
2.5. Characterisation and Identification
Each of the lactic acid bacteria isolate was initially
examined for colonial and cell morphologies, cell arran-
gement, spore formation and motility. Only the Gram
positive, catalase negative and non spore forming isolates
were then characterized by phenotypic and biochemical
tests. An overnight culture (inoculums) of each isolate in
MRS broth was used for all tests incubated anaerobically
(GasPak System, BBL) at 30˚C. The lactic acid bacteria
isolates were tested for fermentation of the following
carbohydrates (Sigma, Germany): D-Glucose, lactose,
sucrose, galactose, maltose, mannitol, sorbitol, mannose,
L-arabinose, D-xylose, cellobiose, dulcitol, inositol, ra-
ffinose, rhamnose, inulin and salicin. Bromocresol purple
broth base was used as basal medium. One percent filter-
sterilized sugar solution using 0.2 µm Millipore filter
(Corning) was added aseptically into sterilized bromo-
cresol purple broth base before inoculation with 18 - 24 h
old culture of each lactic acid bacteria strain. The results
were assessed with reference to an uninoculated control
after anaerobic incubation at 30˚C for 5 d. Tubes in
which bromocresol purple colour changed to yellow
indicated utilisation of sugar or acid production. The
various lactic acid bacteria strains were then identified by
reference to the Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacterio-
logy [22] and The Genera of Lactic Acid Bacteria [23]
based on the results of the various tests. The identity of
the lactic acid bacteria isolates were further confirmed by
using the API 50 CHL tests and the Computer Program
APILAB Plus (BioMerieux, France).
3. Results and Discussion
The pH of the fermenting cassava roots decreased from
5.6 to 3.7 during the 72 h fermenting period. Corre-
spondingly, the temperature increased from 26˚C to 30˚C.
The total titratable acidity (in % lactic acid) increased
from 0.07 ± 0.01 to 0.21 ± 0.01 and decreased to 0.09 by
the end of 72 h fermentation period (Table 1). The pH of
fermenting maize grains dropped from 5.9 to 3.8 by the
end of the 72 h fermentation period. Correspondingly,
the temperature increased from 25˚C to 31˚C during the
same period while the total titratable acidity increased
from 0.13 ± 0.01 to 0.28 ± 0.01 after 24 hours and then
decreased to 0.14 by the end of fermentation period (Ta-
ble 1).
During both fufu and ogi fermentation processes, the
temperature of the fermenting materials increased as fer-
mentation progressed. The two processes are thus exo-
thermic in nature and the heat generated might have re-
sulted from the metabolic activities of the fermenting
organisms [24]. The fermenting organisms do contribute
to acidity attributable to the production of lactic acid and
acetic acid during the processes which exerts a depres-
sive effect on the pH of the fermenting materials [23,25].
Despite the unhygienic wet-milling and wet-sieving
processes involved in the traditional preparation of both
fufu and ogi, the low pH of the fermented products would
make them safe for consumption. Also the acidic fer-
mentation and lactic acid metabolites are responsible for
inactivation of enterobacteriaceae including toxin-pro-
ducing and foodborne infectious pathogens [26-29].
These result in an improvement of the aroma, flavor, tex-
ture, safety and shelf life of the food.
A total of 32 lactic acid bacteria strains were isolated
from the various phases of the fermentation of cassava
for fufu production while 14 strains were obtained from
fermenting maize steep for ogi production. The isolates
were subjected to various morphological, physiological
and biochemical characterizations. The characteristics
exhibited by the isolates were compared with those of
standard strains for their identification [22,30]. All the
isolates were Gram positive and catalase negative rods or
cocci. All produced no endospore and were non motile.
They were facultative anaerobes and were fermentative
rather than being oxidative in nature (Table 2).
Table 3 shows the periodic distribution of dominant
lactic acid bacteria strains during fermentation processes
of fufu and ogi. Strains isolated from fufu fermentation
included Lactobacillus plantarum, L. lactis, L. copro-
phillus, L. acidophilus, L. brevis and Leuconostoc mes-
enteroides while L. plantarum, L. cellobiosus, L. aci-
dophilus, Lc. lactis and Lc. paramesenteroides were iso-
lated from ogi fermentation. Ecological succession pat-
terns in which the Leuconostoc species occur mostly at
initial stages and the Lactobacillus species at later stages
were observed in both fermentations. The most fre-
quently isolated LAB species in fufu fermentation were L.
plantarum (18 strains, 56.25%) and Lc. mesenteroides (6
strains, 18.75%) while in ogi, both L. cellobiosus and Lc.
lactis had the highest percentage occurrence of 26.67%
Open Access FNS
Predominant Lactic Acid Bacteria involved in the Traditional Fermentation of Fufu and Ogi, Two Nigerian Fermented
Food Products
Open Access FNS
Table 1. pH, temperature and titratable acid changes during the fermentation of cassava and maize for fufu and ogi produc-
Cassava (Fufu) Maize (Ogi)
Time (h) Temperature (˚C) pH Titratable acidity (% lactic acid)Temperature (˚C)pH Titratable acidity (% lactic acid)
0 26 5.6 0.07 ± 0.01 25 5.9 0.13 ± 0.01
24 28 5.0 0.21 ± 0.01 27 5.2 0.28 ± 0.01
48 29 4.4 0.13 ± 0.01 29 4.5 0.21
72 30 3.7 0.09 31 3.8 0.14
Table 2. Morphological and biochemical characterisation of isolates.
Sample source Fufu Ogi
No. of strains 18 2 2 2 2 6 2 4 2 4 2
Gram reaction/
Catalase - - - - - - - - - - -
Motility - - - - - - - - - - -
Methyl red + + + + + + + + + + +
Voges Proskauer - - - - - - - - - - -
Spore stain - - - - - - - - - - -
Fermentative F F F F F F F F F F F
from sucrose - - + - - + - - - - -
O2 relationship FA FA FA FA FA FA FA FA FA FA FA
in 4% NaCl + - - - + - + + - + -
from arginine - + + - - - - - - - -
Glucose + + + + + + + + + + +
Lactose + + + + + + + + + + -
Sucrose - + + + + - + - + + -
Galactose + + + + + - + + + + +
Maltose + + + + + - + + + + +
Mannitol + - - + + - + + + + +
Sorbitol + - - + + - + + + + +
Mannose + - - + + - + + + + -
Arabinose - + + + + - + - + + +
Xylose - - - - + - - + - - -
Cellobiose + - - + - - + - + + -
Dulcitol + - - - - - + - - - -
Inositol + - - - - - - + - - -
Inulin + - - + - - + + + + -
Raffinose + + + - - + + - - + +
Rhamnose + - - + + - - + + - -
Salicin + + + + - - + - + + -
Identification L.
plantarum L.
lactis L.
coprophilus L.
acidophilusL. brevisLc.
mesenteroides L.
plantarum L.
acidophilus Lc.
lactis Lc.
Predominant Lactic Acid Bacteria involved in the Traditional Fermentation of Fufu and Ogi, Two Nigerian Fermented
Food Products
Table 3. Periodic distribution of dominant LAB strains during the fermentation of cassava and maize for fufu and ogi pro-
Period (h) Fermentation Dominating strains of LAB
Fufu L. plantarum, L. brevis, L. coprophillus, Lc. mesenteroides
0 Ogi L. plantarum, L. cellobiosus, Lc lactis, Lc. paramesenteroides
Fufu L. plantarum, Lc. mesenteroides, L. acidophilus, L. lactis, L. brevis, L. coprophillus
24 Ogi L. plantarum, Lc. lactis, Lc. paramesenteroides, L. acidophilus, L. cellobiosus,
Fufu L. plantarum, L. acidophilus, L. lactis, L. brevis, Lc. mesenteroides
48 Ogi L. plantarum, L. cellobiosus, L. acidophilus, Lc. lactis
Fufu L. plantarum, L. acidophilus, L. brevis
72 Ogi L. plantarum, L. cellobiosus,
followed by L. plantarum with occurrence of 20.0%
(Figures 3 and 4). The frequencies of dominance of the
lactic acid bacteria strains in fufu fermentation were L.
plantarum 56.25%, Lc. mesenteroides 18.75%, L. lactis
6.25%, L. coprophillu s 6.25%, L. acidophilus 6.25% and
L. brevis 6.25%. In ogi fermentation, they were L. cello-
biosus 26.67%, Lc. lactis 26.67%, L. plantarum 20.0%,
Lc. paramesenteroides 13.33% and L. acidophilus
Lc. mesenteroides and L. plantarum have been repor-
ted as the dominant microorganisms implicated in several
natural and spontaneous lactic acid fermentation of vege-
tables [31,32]. L. plantarum was also found to dominate
the lactic acid bacteria flora in various food fermentation
processes for akamu [33], ogi [34], boza [35], cachaca
[36], tempoyak [37], ting [38] and togwa [39].
Spontaneous fermentation typically results from the
competitive activities of different microorganisms where-
by strains best adapted and with the highest growth rate
will dominate particular stages of the process [38].
Among the bacteria associated with food fermentation,
lactic acid bacteria are of predominant importance. Sam-
ples from plant materials were reported to show the
greatest diversity of lactic acid bacteria with the Lacto-
bacillus strains being predominant in food-related eco-
systems [40].
Yeasts and lactic acid bacteria are implicated in the
fermentation of a wide variety of traditional food and
beverage fermentations [14,18,33,39]. While yeasts are
known to facilitate alcoholic fermentations, lactic acid
bacteria produce lactic acid as part or major by product
from the fermentation of carbohydrates [25,41]. Fufu and
ogi are products of acid fermentations by lactic acid bac-
teria. This group of bacteria includes several genera that
differ considerably in morphological, physiological and
functional properties. Lc. mesenteroides mostly occur at
early stages of most vegetable fermentations with L.
plantarum predominating towards the end of the proc-
esses [14]. This ecological succession is attributed to the
differences in the acid tolerance of the two genera. It may
also be the reason for the disappearance of the entero-
L. pl antarum
L. lactis
L. coprophillus
L. aci dophilus
L. brevis
Lc. mesenteroides
Figure 3. Percentage occurrence of lactic acid bacteria in
fufu fermentation.
L. plantarum
L. cellobiosus
L. acidophilus
Lc. lactis
Figure 4. Percentage occurrence of lactic acid bacteria in
ogi fermentation.
bacteriaceae which are observed at early periods during
fermentation of plant materials [14]. The water used for
steeping or surface microflora of raw materials may be
sources of such enterobacteriaceae.
Open Access FNS
Predominant Lactic Acid Bacteria involved in the Traditional Fermentation of Fufu and Ogi, Two Nigerian Fermented
Food Products
The methods of preparation, water used for steeping,
surface microflora of raw materials, atmosphere where
processing takes place and the handlers all affect the
types of microorganisms isolated during fermentation
processes for fufu and ogi. The various species of lactic
acid bacteria are however better adapted to the substrates
and overcome the possible physiological and biochemi-
cal hurdles during the phases of each fermentation proc-
ess. Fu fu and ogi, as at present, are traditionally prepared
by spontaneous fermentation relying on the indigenous
flora of the raw materials. This leads to a poorly con-
trolled process and variations in the products. For con-
sistency in the quality of these fermented food products,
the development of specific starter cultures is important.
4. Conclusion
It is concluded that an association of lactic acid bacteria
composed of homofermentative and heterofermentative
Lactobacillus species and heterofermentative Leuconos-
toc species are involved from the beginning to the end of
both cassava and maize fermentations for the production
of fufu and ogi respectively. Factors which influence
these food fermentations include temperature, acidity and
hydrogen ion concentration (pH). The assessment of the
performance of each of the species under controlled fer-
mentation will enable selection of the best strains that
can serve as potential starter culture for the production of
microbiologically stable and predictable end products.
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Food Products
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