Non-O157 Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are a frequent cause of STEC
related infections such as diarrhoea. Fermentation by presumptive probiotic Lactobacillus
plantarum strain B411 isolated from cereal fermentation was investigated to prevent the
growth of acid adapted (AA) and non-acid adapted (NAA) non-O157 STEC in traditionally
fermented maize gruel, a widely used complementary food in Africa. L. plantarum strain B411 possessed probiotic characteristics and antimicrobial activity against selected
pathogenic bacteria. Growth of AA and NAA non-O157 STEC strains was substantially
inhibited by 3.6 and 4.8 log reductions, respectively in the maize gruel fermented with the L.
plantarum B411, while their growth was only inhibited by 1.0 and 1.2 log reductions,
respectively by traditional fermentation alone. Inclusion of fermentative strains of L.
plantarum exhibiting probiotic activity is a feasible method to ensure safety of traditional
fermented African cereal porridges through inhibition of non-O157 STEC.