Exploring the microbial diversity of novel misos with metagenomics

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Interest in fermented foods, especially plant-based ones, has increased considerably in the last decade. Miso—a Japanese paste traditionally fermented with soybeans, salt, and kōji (Aspergillus oryzae grown on grains or beans)—has gained attention among chefs for its rich flavour and versatility. Some chefs have even been experimenting with making novel misos with untraditional substrates to create new flavours. Such novel fermented foods also offer new scientific opportunities. To explore the microbial diversity of these new traditional foods, we sampled six misos made by the team at a leading restaurant called Noma in Copenhagen (Denmark), using yellow peas (including a nixtamalised treatment), lupin seeds, Swedish Vreta peas, grey peas, and Gotland lentils as substrates. All misos were made with the same recipe and fermented for 3 months at 28 °C. Samples were collected at the end of fermentation for subsequent shotgun metagenomic sequencing and a genome-resolved metagenomic analysis. The taxonomic profile of the samples revealed the presence of kōji mould (A. oryzae) and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens in all misos. Various species of the genera Latilactobacillus, Lactiplantibacillus, Pediococcus and Staphylococcus were also detected. The Metagenome-Assembled Genomes (MAGs) revealed genomic sequences belonging to 12 different species and functional analyses of these MAGs were performed. Notably, we detected the presence of Exiguobacterium—the first reported instance of the genus in miso—and Average Nucleotide Identity (ANI) analyses suggest a potentially new species. We hope these results will improve the scientific literature on misos and contribute to developing novel fermented plant-based foods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104372
JournalFood Microbiology
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Fermentation, MAG, Metagenomics, Miso, Plant-based

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