For Anonymous: Let's Talk Germs

>> Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Anonymous/Anna asked: Why is lactobacillus linked with breaded chicken?

I have no idea. Your question is the first I've heard of it. Nor, when I did a search on it, did I find anything that linked them.

Now, I'm not a bacteriologist or a food scientist or a doctor, so I'm not saying there is or isn't a link and, since you asked me, I could speculate (in an amateur kind of way) on why they might be linked. And, since it's my blog, I'll do that. Just note that my speculation should in no way be confused with facts.

Lactobacillus actually encompass a large family of bacteria, mostly benign, some helping in digestions and often associated with the breakdown of lactose (and other sugars) to lactic acid. They are a commonly used in yeast cultures, in beer making and in yogurts. In fact, that (and that alone) seems like a good argument for why we might find lactobacillus around breaded chicken; with their affinity for grains/flour and milk products, it seems like there'd be no surprise to find them in a chicken batter, which would likely include both - particularly a buttermilk batter. However, it seems unlikely they'd survive the frying process.

If that wasn't what you were looking for, please let me know with some nudges what you were looking for and I'll do more digging.


  • Jeff King

    there are many form or dif types of Lactobacillus, so what kind or you asking about.

    most are harmless, and just dis-color meat.

  • The Mother

    I am a doctor, and I know the answer to this question.

    Recent studies show that colonizing the gut flora of poultry decreases salmonella binding sites, and may therefore make the chickens safer for human consumption.

    There are several known species of poultry which simply do not get salmonella, and are therefore safe to eat rare (before you get all huffy, let me remind you that since we eradicated trichinosis in US pork, medium rare pork has become not only acceptable, but MUCH better than the dried out stuff we ate as kids). It is likely that those species have inherent lactobacillus protection against salmonella.

    This is sort of a "probiotic" effect, but before you run out and buy activa, I will point out that the studies have so far only been done in chickens. Of course, we know that natural flora protect against disease, even in humans. But don't expect activa to protect you against salmonella. Cook your chicken thoroughly, unless it's one of those rare breeds.

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