If 2011 is "recent." I never disagreed that Lb SF has the highest operon density. As far as I know it's the highest of any organism. Where we differ is when it comes to speaking in absolutes the way you do. What happens in a lab is all fine and dandy, but if the results don't carry over to the real world, their usefulness is limited. Even if everything you have written on the subject accurately reflects the relevant research, it doesn't explain the empirical results such as "sweet smell" scenairo I described in a previous post or how another member here can maintain 5 distinctly different cultures.
FWIW, here is a list of operon counts and density for Lactobacillus with complete genomes in GenBank.
2011 (yes, I knew the year; I follow the microbiology of fermentation in general, not just sourdough) is indeed recent for LAB genomes that've been mapped. There's a limited number done so every year, with that figure increasing as it gets closer to the present day, but it's still at a relatively slow rate. E.g., this limits the number studies done into the pan-genomes of particular lactic-acid bacteria, and pales in comparison to those done on their eukaryotic cousins, say, for S. cerevisiae
(but more are slowly trickling out, like one just published for Lb. sakei
It's funny, the way certain people want to cherry-pick the available science to fit their needs or to interpret it in a very inexact way to fulfill their own personal worldview. Take your predictive model, for example, based upon the very foundations we've been discussing. This data was developed in a lab, with clear real-world results, except your extrapolation of it does not fit the wide range of doughs I use, as it doesn't account for osmotic stress, decreasing pH conditions, and, particularly, salt as expressed as ionic strength, which has perhaps the biggest impact on fermentation time outside of temperature.
Most of your "evidence" is off-the-cuff and anecdotal, odd for someone who insists on using high evidentiary thresholds. Five starters that are different? Well, how
are they different? In what ways, and are they rigorously maintained and recorded? Doubtful. If so, then let's investigate and try to fit it with what we know from the available research. I have likely maintained more starters than most people on here, both professionally and at home, and under every conceivable permutation -- in terms of type of flours, both freshly-milled, commercially-available and even custom roller-milled; means of creation, temperature, inoculation size, and so on -- and on various parts of the globe to boot. What's more, nearly every baker and pizzamaker I know tends to end up with similar results as what the available science shows, a near impossible coincidence to me, and my network isn't exactly small. Are there differences between sourdoughs maintained at the laboratory and bakery level? Of course, no one said there isn't, especially since the former conditions tend to be more aseptic, with less likelihood of cross-contaminating events. This being said, the science is getting better, more predictive, and, in my experience, very much fits with what I do in the real world.
There has been a proper explanation proposed for how your two starters are different, which seems obvious to me or any other experienced sourdough baker, I would imagine. The culture, whatever its make-up, shifted due to different processing conditions: one was kept in the fridge so as to essentially halt fermentation and maintain the old regime, and the other was left to experience massive cell death, substrate depletion and increasingly oxidative and acidic conditions, allowing what was likely a sub-dominant bacteria to become dominant, one more tolerant of the end conditions it was exposed to. This sort of shift is seen constantly in laboratories and in bakeries, and is one of the reasons researchers and professional bakery texts insist that type-I cultures maintained at ambient temperatures be refreshed on a daily basis.
Continue to be sceptical, because, despite what I say, I think scepticism is healthy and always warranted when it's substantive and impersonal, as the opposite -- blind allegiance to ideals in the absence of evidence -- makes for a much scarier world. That being said, scepticism can blindly stumble down a similar path, when scepticism is adopted for its own sake, and thus choosing to ignore evidence from the real world.
Regardless, we both use sourdough and use it to sling pies, with very different outcomes. This shows that even if fermentations are uniform under similar conditions
, process parameters can always slightly be tweaked to end up with results that are vastly distinct and unique. I see this as a good thing.
(For the record, I don't profess blind allegiance to the available science, as there's many areas in which I find its explanatory power to be incorrect, lacking or entirely incomplete, but
, with this being said, I have found that much of the research that is available [and hasn't really been reported on in the relevant food literature] tends to be powerful, insightful, and more often right than wrong. This is one of the reasons I began looking into the scientific aspects of pizza, bread, and so on, as there is
a lot out there that can be explained but no one has really bothered putting in the legwork. There's a tremendous gap between the science and the mainstream understanding, whereas I find this gap to be much less apparent in other food sectors, like wine- and/or beer-making, for example.)