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Leuconostoc[1] is a genus of Gram-positive bacteria, placed within the family of Leuconostocaceae. They are generally ovoid cocci often forming chains. Leuconostoc spp. are intrinsically resistant to vancomycin and are catalase-negative (which distinguishes them from staphylococci). All species within this genus are heterofermentative and are able to produce dextran from sucrose. They are generally slime-forming.

Blamed for causing the 'stink' when creating a sourdough starter, some species are also capable of causing human infection.[2] Because they are an uncommon cause of disease in humans, standard commercial identification kits are often unable to identify the organism.[3]

Leuconostoc is, along with other lactic acid bacteria such as Pediococcus and Lactobacillus, responsible for the fermentation of cabbage, making it sauerkraut. In this process, fresh cabbage is fermented in a light brine, where the sugars in the cabbage are transformed by lacto-fermentation to lactic acid which gives the cabbage a sour flavour and good keeping qualities. Leuconostoc is similarly part of the symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeast or SCOBY involved in the fermentation of kefir, a fermented milk beverage.[4]


  1. ^ Björkroth, J., and W. Holzapfel. 2006. Genera Leuconostoc, Oenococcus and Weissella, p.267 -319. In M. Dworkin (ed.), The prokaryotes: a handbook on the biology of bacteria: Firmicutes, Cyanobacteria, vol. 4, 3rd ed. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY. [1]
  2. ^ Vagiakou-Voudris E, Mylona-Petropoulou D, Kalogeropoulou E, Chantzis A, Chini S, Tsiodra P, Malamou-Lada E (2002). "Scand J Infect Dis". Scandinavian journal of infectious diseases. 34 (10): 766–7. doi:10.1080/00365540260348572. PMID 12477331. 
  3. ^ Kulwichit W, Nilgate S, Chatsuwan T, et al. (2007). "Accuracies of Leuconostoc phenotypic identification: a comparison of API systems and conventional phenotypic assays". BMC Infectious Diseases. 7: 69. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-69. PMC 1947989 . PMID 17605772. 
  4. ^ Farnworth, Edward R (4 April 2005). "Kefir-a complex probiotic" (PDF). Food Science and Technology Bulletin: Functional Foods. 2 (1): 1–17. doi:10.1616/1476-2137.13938. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 

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