Lactic acid fermentation offers a processing alternative for preservation of watermelon juice, which is sensitive to heat, oxygen, and light. In this study, 8.8 × 107 CFU/mL of Lactobacillus plantarum DSM 9843 in MRS broth was inoculated in 9.9 mL of sterilized watermelon juice. Nanosecond-pulsed electric field was applied during the log growth phase of the bacteria. An 19% increase in L-lactic acid, 6.8% increase in D-lactic acid and 15% increase in acetic acid were observed over control. The final pH was 3.8. These increased levels of metabolites were dependent on the applied voltages (L-lactic acid: 5.0 kV 700 pulses, D-lactic acid: 4.5 kV 700 pulses and acetic acid: 4.5 kV 1000 pulses). The nsPEF treatment did not affect the viability of the cells and sufficient numbers remained in the product after fermentation (1.6 × 109 CFU/mL in average). These results suggest that the metabolism of lactic acid bacteria was stimulated by the PEF treatment.
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This work was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellows Grant Numbers JP16J02189 and a Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Early-Career Scientists Grant Number JP19K15769 .