Wheat bran, a by-product produced in huge amount during cereal milling, is today largely unexploited because of its poor suitability as food ingredient. Solid-state fermentation (SSF) using a Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain was applied to wheat bran and its influence on bioactive compounds (free and bound phenolic acids) and antioxidant activity were evaluated. Moreover, the phytic acid (PAc) degradation and arabinoxylans (WEAX) solubilization properties were studied: the SSF treatment resulted in an almost 37% decrement and a three times increment of PAc and WEAX, respectively. Finally, in order to get the bigger picture, microbial metabolites and the volatile profile of fermented wheat bran were characterized, showing amino acids and lipids metabolites and a complex aroma profile. Overall, lactic acid fermentation can be considered a valuable pre-treatment for the valorisation of cereal by-products.
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