The study of wild strains from natural habitats is a useful means of understanding better the heterogeneity within a species of biotechnological importance, and of obtaining atypical isolates with unknown capabilities. In the present research carried out on different Lactobacillus helveticus strains isolated from natural cheese starters, it was observed that several biotechnologically important characteristics can differ greatly between strains. Biotypes were found which differ in terms of fructose, maltose and trehalose fermentation, acidifying activity, proteolytic and peptidase activity, and antibiotic and lysozyme resistance. The possibility of choosing Lact. heleveticus strains with specific biotechnological profiles will influence the quality and the variety of dairy products.
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