ABSTRACT. This study assessed the potential of probiotic and antimicrobial activity of strains isolated from an indigenous fish sauce in Malaysia. A total of 150 isolates were evaluated for their resistance toward low pH and bile salts as well as the production of inhibitory substances against four selected foodborne pathogens namely Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli O157:H7. Lactobacillus plantarum (LP1, LP2), Saccharomyces cerevisiae (SC3), Candida glabrata (CG2), Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis (LL2) and Staphylococcus arlettae (SA) strains showed resistance to low pH and bile salt at various concentrations. The LP1(86.3%), LP2 (86.2%), LL2 (84.4%) and CG2 (79.7%) strains exhibited higher survival rates than SA (66.7%) strain at extremely low pH concentration (pH 1.5) compared to other tested strains; while most of the strains tolerate bile salt at low concentrations (0.3%) which mimic the human small intestine environment. The growth rate of the tested strains decreased in proportion to the increase of bile salt concentrations. All the strains elicited different levels of antimicrobial activities against selected pathogens. Only the LP1, SC3 and SA strains showed greater inhibitory effect against Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. The result suggested that LP1, LP2, SC3, CG2, LL2 and SA were technologically interesting and could be developed as starter cultures for the manufacturing of novel functional fermented foods.
KEYWORDS. Fish sauce, probiotic, bile salt tolerance, antimicrobial activity, starter cultures