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In the Philippines, different ethnical groups have their own take on fermented delicacies.

However, most traditional or indigenous foods are not well studied. Tapai is an alcoholic paste of
either sour-sweet in flavor made cassava or white rice inoculated with a starter culture-made yeast.
According to the study from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Africa, potential LAB probiotic strains
where found such as L. plantarum, Lb. rhamnosus, L. brevis, L. paracasei and P. pentosaceus, L.
fermentum, and W. confusa respectively. However, the diversity of LAB with probiotic property
differ from each place due to the factors such as different starters, preparation, and recipes.
Unfortunately at present, there is an inadequate information on the spectrum of microorganisms
associated with Meranaw tapai especially in terms of lactic acid bacteria as its primary benefits.
This knowledge is essential for the development of this product with improved quality for
commercial optimization and marketing as it has been a part of majorly consumed food in
Meranaw tradition. It may also serve as an alternative source of probiotic.

This study aims to isolate and characterize lactic acid bacteria with probiotic potential in
Maranao tapai. Specifically it aims to: (1) isolate the LAB found in the tapai, (2) characterize the
detected LAB in tapai, and (3) identify the characterized LAB strains with probiotic potential.
Tapai sample was collected from the Balo-i Public Market. All samples were purchased stored in
a pre-cooled ice box with temperatures ranging from 4 to 8°C, and transported PSHS-CMC
Biology Laboratory for handling and analysis. Tapai sample was converted to broth then
aseptically diluted in MRS agar plates. Purified isolates were screened in three phases: Isolation
phase which includes gram staining test, catalase test, motility test, and growth at 10C and 45 C;
LAB characterization phase which includes colonial and cellular morphology observation,
carbohydrate fermentation test; and Probiotic Screening phase which includes acid and bile
tolerance tests.

Out of 34 isolated samples, only 9 remained as a true LAB isolates and then, categorized
up to genus level. 6 were under Lactobacillus genera, 2 were Pediococcus, and 1 is Leuconostoc.
Under each genera, the isolates were concluded as predictably different strains from each other
due to their cellular and colonial morphologies differences. All of these 9 isolates were positive in
acid and bile tolerance screening. This implies that the isolates can withstand the gut environment
which is a precursor property of a probiotic. The study focuses on determining only those
characterized strains of lactic acid bacteria found in traditional Meranaw fermented cassava root.
The identification of the isolates is limited only to the genus level and protocols covered by the
Bergey’s Manual of Determinative Bacteriology. In this study, the precursor criteria of being a
probiotic strain was determined and the selected isolates were identified and characterized up to
genus level. Moreover, some future studies should be performed to use these isolates reliably. It
will be beneficial to test the following characteristics such as isolates’ antimicrobial activity against
some indicator microorganisms, antibiotic resistance, mucosal surface adherence and genotypic
level of characterization up to species level.