Isolation and characterization of vinegar culture (Acetobacter aceti) from indigenous sources

Tahir Zahoor (Institute of Food Science and Technology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan)
Farzana Siddique (Institute of Food Science and Technology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan)
Umar Farooq (Institute of Food Science and Technology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Publication date: 1 June 2006



The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has established that vinegar is a liquid only obtained by fermentation. Although in Pakistan mostly synthetic vinegar is marketed, production of vinegar through fermentation at industrial level is also carried out. However, vinegar produced by this method tends to be of inferior quality due to uncontrolled conditions. In industry a mixed culture of Acetobacter is used for the production of acetic acid but no attention is given towards its proper maintenance and culture is contaminated with other kinds of microorganisms and still no work has been done along these lines in Pakistan. There is a need to develop pure vinegar cultures for vinegar production so that the use of synthetic vinegar may be avoided as it is prohibited in most countries. Keeping in view all of these points, the present work was conducted to isolate a pure culture of Acetobacter aceti, the maintenance of this culture and finally its utilization in fermentation for vinegar production.


In this study efforts were made to isolate vinegar culture (Acetobacter aceti) from sugar cane juice, rotten apples, flowers, wine, canal water and vinegar as a primary source for Acetobacter by continuous sub‐culturing on standard medium glucose, yeast extract and calcium carbonate (GYC). The culture was identified on the basis of colony characteristics and morphology. It was finally confirmed by different biochemical/enzymatic tests and further specified by nutritional and temperature requirements for the growth. The isolated strain was later used for the production of vinegar through fermentation.


Among canal water, crushed apples, sugar cane juice, alcohol, vinegar and flowers, the alcohol and vinegar were found to be the most suitable sources for isolation of Acetobacter spp. The colonies of purified culture were found to be pale to off‐white, circular, raised, convex, smooth and not >3 mm in diameter with morphology of Gram‐ve, ellipsoidal, rods, squat bacilli, roundish, single, in pairs and in chains. The isolated and identified spp. gave excellent results for the production of vinegar and this vinegar was more acceptable rather than commercially available fermented vinegar.

Practical implication

At industrial level good quality vinegar can be produced by using pure culture of Acetobacter aceti for acetic acid fermentation.


The research carried out is one of an original type as no work has been done in Pakistan previously. Further, for the accuracy of the results, all the practices were carried out in triplicates.



Zahoor, T., Siddique, F. and Farooq, U. (2006), "Isolation and characterization of vinegar culture (Acetobacter aceti) from indigenous sources", British Food Journal, Vol. 108 No. 6, pp. 429-439.

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