A VBNC state (viable but nonculturable) is referred to the population of living bacterial cells that are nonculturable in culture media. This state of lactic acid bacteria can be caused by: variable temperature conditions, a decreased pH value of the environment, or the presence of bile salts and other bacteriostatic agents. A population to retain a VBNC state cannot be analysed using traditional methods because of a limiting criterion, which is the culturability of bacteria on microbiological media. The application of the techniques, which analyse different anatomical and/or physiological parameters of cells regardless of their ability to grow on culture media, is justified when assessing lactic acid bacteria in terms of usability, functionality, and safety.
VBNC state, lactic acid bacteria, stress-inducing factors, techniques for VBNC state analysis