Fermented dairy products mostly harbour some microbiota, also known as probiotics. Over the last years, there has been a significant increase in interest in probiotics. Among them, Pediococcus strains also exist in fermented dairy products, including kefir. However, the probiotic potential of Pediococcus strains has not been explored extensively. This study was performed to evaluate the probiotic potential of Pediococcus strains from traditionally produced kefir samples. To do this, a total of 32 kefir samples from Marmara and Central Anatolia regions in Turkey was collected. The samples were exposed to conventional microbiological analysis to culture lactic acid bacteria (LAB), followed by identification using VITEK® mass spectrometer (MS), and molecular characterisation of Pediococcus strains by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). After that, the probiotic potential of each Pediococcus strain was tested for resistance to gastric acidity and bile salt and property of hydrophobicity. Overall, 22 strains (34.9%) were identified as Pediococcus spp. out of 63 LAB isolates. Among them, only one isolate, Pediococcus pentosaceus K6, was found to be resistant to gastric acidity, bile salt and to have hydrophobic properties. In conclusion, our study suggests that a limited number of strains could reveal their potential probiotic action on the host organism. Thus, Pediococcus strains of diverse natural origins can provide more insights into further probiotic supplement designs in human nutrition without genomic intervention.
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