Are spontaneously fermented plant-based foods potential sources of transferable antibiotic resistance genes?

Kinga Jasiak, Daniel Amund

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
83 Downloads (Pure)


Spontaneously fermented plant-based foods are highly valued for their unique organoleptic characteristics and presumed health benefits. However, because natural (spontaneous) fermentation does not involve the employment of starter cultures, the safety of spontaneously fermented plant-based products is not easily controlled. This review examines the presence of antibiotic resistance determinants in lactic acid bacteria (LAB) from plant-based, naturally fermented foods. Phenotypic resistance to clinically relevant antibiotics has been widely observed in LAB from a variety of food types. The larger proportion of the resistance traits reported in this review can be considered intrinsic to LAB. However, some of the identified traits, especially resistance genes to tetracycline and erythromycin, have the potential for horizontal spread. Further molecular characterization is required to determine the genetic basis of detected resistance traits that have only been assessed using phenotypic methods. The implementation of novel safety measures in the production of spontaneously fermented plant-based foods should be considered in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
JournalFood Frontiers
Issue number1
Early online date14 Dec 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • antimicrobial resistance
  • fermented foods
  • food safety
  • lactic acid bacteria
  • plant-based foods
  • spontaneous fermentation


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