Acquisition of the ability to produce polysaccharides from sucrose, i.e. the gtf gene encoding glucosyltransferase (GTF), is the key evolutionary event enabling dental biofilm formation by streptococci. To clarify the ancestry of streptococcal GTFs, time of its occurrence, and order of specific events, we investigated the distribution of GTFs among bacteria by phylogenetic analysis of the glycosyl hydrolase family 70 enzymes. We found that streptococcal GTFs were derived from other lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Leuconostoc, and propose the following evolutionary model: horizontal gene transfer via transposons occurred when streptococci encountered lactic acid bacteria contained in fermented food. Intra-genomic gene duplication occurred by a secondary selection pressure such as consumption of refined sugar. Our findings concerning this evolution in Streptococcus mutans provide an important background for studies of the relationship between the historical spread of dental caries and anthropological factors.
Brine fermentation by osmophilic lactic acid bacteria and yeasts for long periods of time is essential to produce a good quality of shoyu (Japanese fermented soy sauce). It is well known that lactic acid fermentation by osmophilic lactic acid bacteria results in the depression of alcoholic fermentation by osmophilic yeasts, but the nature of the interaction between osmophilic lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in brine fermentation of shoyu has not been revealed. The inhibitory effect of osmophilic lactic acid bacteria on the growth of osmophilic yeasts was investigated. It was recognized that osmophilic shoyu yeasts such as Saccharomyces rouxii and Torulopsis versatilis were inhibited by a metabolite produced by osmophilic lactic acid bacteria (belonging to Pediococcus halophilus) in brine fermentation of shoyu. The primary inhibitor was considered to be acetic acid, although lactic acid was slightly inhibitory.
For some lactic acid bacteria higher biomass production as a result of aerobic respiration has been reported upon supplementation with heme and menaquinone. In this report, we have studied a large number of species among lactic acid bacteria for the existence of this trait.
Heme- (and menaquinone) stimulated aerobic growth was observed for several species and genera of lactic acid bacteria. These include Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacilllus brevis, Lactobacillus paralimentarius, Streptococcus entericus and Lactococcus garviae. The increased biomass production without further acidification, which are respiration associated traits, are suitable for high-throughput screening as demonstrated by the screening of 8000 Lactococcus lactis insertion mutants. Respiration-negative insertion-mutants were found with noxA, bd-type cytochrome and menaquinol biosynthesis gene-disruptions. Phenotypic screening and in silico genome analysis suggest that respiration can be considered characteristic for certain species.
We propose that the cyd-genes were present in the common ancestor of lactic acid bacteria, and that multiple gene-loss events best explains the observed distribution of these genes among the species.
Lactic acid bacteria are among the powerhouses of the food industry, colonize the surfaces of plants and animals, and contribute to our health and well-being. The genomic characterization of LAB has rocketed and presently over 100 complete or nearly complete genomes are available, many of which serve as scientific paradigms. Moreover, functional and comparative metagenomic studies are taking off and provide a wealth of insight in the activity of lactic acid bacteria used in a variety of applications, ranging from starters in complex fermentations to their marketing as probiotics. In this new era of high throughput analysis, biology has become big science. Hence, there is a need to systematically store the generated information, apply this in an intelligent way, and provide modalities for constructing self-learning systems that can be used for future improvements. This review addresses these systems solutions with a state of the art overview of the present paradigms that relate to the use of lactic acid bacteria in industrial applications. Moreover, an outlook is presented of the future developments that include the transition into practice as well as the use of lactic acid bacteria in synthetic biology and other next generation applications.
Cis-acting elements in Lactobacillus plantarum were predicted by comparative analysis of the upstream regions of conserved genes and predicted transcriptional units (TUs) in different bacterial genomes. TUs were predicted for two species sets, with different evolutionary distances to L.plantarum. TUs were designated ‘cluster of orthologous transcriptional units’ (COT) when >50% of the genes were orthologous in different species. Conserved DNA sequences were detected in the upstream regions of different COTs. Subsequently, conserved motifs were used to scan upstream regions of all TUs. This method revealed 18 regulatory motifs only present in lactic acid bacteria (LAB). The 18 LAB-specific candidate regulatory motifs included 13 that were not described previously. These LAB-specific different motifs were found in front of genes encoding functions varying from cold shock proteins to RNA and DNA polymerases, and many unknown functions. The best-described LAB-specific motif found was the CopR-binding site, regulating expression of copper transport ATPases. Finally, all detected motifs were used to predict co-regulated TUs (regulons) for L.plantarum, and transcriptome profiling data were analyzed to provide regulon prediction validation. It is demonstrated that phylogenetic footprinting using different species sets can identify and distinguish between general regulatory motifs and LAB-specific regulatory motifs.
Polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable polymer, has the potential to replace (at least partially) traditional petroleum-based plastics, minimizing “white pollution”. However, cost-effective production of optically pure L-lactic acid is needed to achieve the full potential of PLA. Currently, starch-based glucose is used for L-lactic acid fermentation by lactic acid bacteria. Due to its competition with food resources, an alternative non-food substrate such as cellulosic biomass is needed for L-lactic acid fermentation. Nevertheless, the substrate (sugar stream) derived from cellulosic biomass contains significant amounts of xylose, which is unfermentable by most lactic acid bacteria. However, the microorganisms that do ferment xylose usually carry out heterolactic acid fermentation. As a result, an alternative strain should be developed for homofermentative production of optically pure L-lactic acid using cellulosic biomass.
In this study, an ethanologenic Escherichia coli strain, SZ470 (ΔfrdBC ΔldhA ΔackA ΔpflB ΔpdhR ::pflBp6-acEF-lpd ΔmgsA), was reengineered for homofermentative production of L-lactic acid from xylose (1.2 mole xylose = > 2 mole L-lactic acid), by deleting the alcohol dehydrogenase gene (adhE) and integrating the L-lactate dehydrogenase gene (ldhL) of Pediococcus acidilactici. The resulting strain, WL203, was metabolically evolved further through serial transfers in screw-cap tubes containing xylose, resulting in the strain WL204 with improved anaerobic cell growth. When tested in 70 g L-1 xylose fermentation (complex medium), WL204 produced 62 g L-1 L-lactic acid, with a maximum production rate of 1.631 g L-1 h-1 and a yield of 97% based on xylose metabolized. HPLC analysis using a chiral column showed that an L-lactic acid optical purity of 99.5% was achieved by WL204.
These results demonstrated that WL204 has the potential for homofermentative production of L-lactic acid using cellulosic biomass derived substrates, which contain a significant amount of xylose.
E. coli; Genetic engineering; L-lactic acid; PLA; Xylose fermentation
The conversion of amino acids into volatile and nonvolatile compounds by lactic acid bacteria in cheese is thought to represent the rate-limiting step in the development of mature flavor and aroma. Because amino acid breakdown by microbes often entails the reversible action of enzymes involved in biosynthetic pathways, our group investigated the genetics of amino acid biosynthesis in Lactobacillus helveticus CNRZ 32, a commercial cheese flavor adjunct that reduces bitterness and intensifies flavor notes. Most lactic acid bacteria are auxotrophic for several amino acids, and L. helveticus CNRZ 32 requires 14 amino acids. The reconstruction of amino acid biosynthetic pathways from a draft-quality genome sequence for L. helveticus CNRZ 32 revealed that amino acid auxotrophy in this species was due primarily to gene absence rather than point mutations, insertions, or small deletions, with good agreement between gene content and phenotypic amino acid requirements. One exception involved the phenotypic requirement for Asp (or Asn), which genome predictions suggested could be alleviated by citrate catabolism. This prediction was confirmed by the growth of L. helveticus CNRZ 32 after the addition of citrate to a chemically defined medium that lacked Asp and Asn. Genome analysis also predicted that L. helveticus CNRZ 32 possessed ornithine decarboxylase activity and would therefore catalyze the conversion of ornithine to putrescine, a volatile biogenic amine. However, experiments to confirm ornithine decarboxylase activity in L. helveticus CNRZ 32 by the use of several methods were unsuccessful, which indicated that this bacterium likely does not contribute to putrescine production in cheese.
Whole-genome sequencing has revolutionized and accelerated scientific research that aims to study the genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology of bacteria. Lactic acid-producing bacteria, which include lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria, are typically Gram-positive, catalase-negative organisms, which occupy a wide range of natural plant- and animal-associated environments. LAB species are frequently involved in the transformation of perishable raw materials into more stable, pleasant, palatable and safe fermented food products. LAB and bifidobacteria are also found among the resident microbiota of the gastrointestinal and/or genitourinary tracts of vertebrates, where they are believed to exert health-promoting effects. At present, the genomes of more than 20 LAB and bifidobacterial species have been completely sequenced. Their genome content reflects its specific metabolism, physiology, biosynthetic capabilities, and adaptability to varying conditions and environments. The typical LAB/bifidobacterial genome is relatively small (from 1.7 to 3.3 Mb) and thus harbors a limited assortment of genes (from around 1,600 to over 3,000). These small genomes code for a broad array of transporters for efficient carbon and nitrogen assimilation from the nutritionally-rich niches they usually inhabit, and specify a rather limited range of biosynthetic and degrading capabilities. The variation in the number of genes suggests that the genome evolution of each of these bacterial groups involved the processes of extensive gene loss from their particular ancestor, diversification of certain common biological activities through gene duplication, and acquisition of key functions via horizontal gene transfer. The availability of genome sequences is expected to revolutionize the exploitation of the metabolic potential of LAB and bifidobacteria, improving their use in bioprocessing and their utilization in biotechnological and health-related applications.
Genomics; lactic acid bacteria; lactococci; lactobacilli; bifidobacteria; Streptococcus thermophilus; fermented dairy products; probiotics.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus is a lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that, through the production of lactic acid, gradually acidifies its environment during growth. In the course of this process, L. bulgaricus acquires an improved tolerance to acidity. A survey of the recently established genome sequence shows that this bacterium possesses few of the pH control functions that have been described in other LAB and raises the question of what other mechanisms could be involved in its adaptation to the decreasing environmental pH. In some bacteria other than LAB, ion transport systems have been implicated in acid adaptation. We therefore studied the expression of this type of transport system during acid adaptation in L. bulgaricus by reverse transcription and real-time quantitative PCR and mapped transcription start sites. Intriguingly, the most significantly induced were three ATPases carrying the CPX signature of heavy-metal transporters. Protein homology and the presence of a conserved sequence motif in the promoter regions of the genes encoding these proteins strongly suggest that they are involved in copper homeostasis. Induction of this system is thought to assist in avoiding indirect damage that could result from medium acidification.
The heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria Oenococcus oeni and Leuconostoc mesenteroides are able to grow by fermentation of pyruvate as the carbon source (2 pyruvate → 1 lactate + 1 acetate + 1 CO2). The growth yields amount to 4.0 and 5.3 g (dry weight)/mol of pyruvate, respectively, suggesting formation of 0.5 mol ATP/mol pyruvate. Pyruvate is oxidatively decarboxylated by pyruvate dehydrogenase to acetyl coenzyme A, which is then converted to acetate, yielding 1 mol of ATP. For NADH reoxidation, one further pyruvate molecule is reduced to lactate. The enzymes of the pathway were present after growth on pyruvate, and genome analysis showed the presence of the corresponding structural genes. The bacteria contain, in addition, pyruvate oxidase activity which is induced under microoxic conditions. Other homo- or heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria showed only low pyruvate fermentation activity.
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are a group of gram-positive, lactic acid producing Firmicutes. They have been extensively used in food fermentations, including the production of various dairy products. The proteolytic system of LAB converts proteins to peptides and then to amino acids, which is essential for bacterial growth and also contributes significantly to flavor compounds as end-products. Recent developments in high-throughput genome sequencing and comparative genomics hybridization arrays provide us with opportunities to explore the diversity of the proteolytic system in various LAB strains.
We performed a genome-wide comparative genomics analysis of proteolytic system components, including cell-wall bound proteinase, peptide transporters and peptidases, in 22 sequenced LAB strains. The peptidase families PepP/PepQ/PepM, PepD and PepI/PepR/PepL are described as examples of our in silico approach to refine the distinction of subfamilies with different enzymatic activities. Comparison of protein 3D structures of proline peptidases PepI/PepR/PepL and esterase A allowed identification of a conserved core structure, which was then used to improve phylogenetic analysis and functional annotation within this protein superfamily.
The diversity of proteolytic system components in 39 Lactococcus lactis strains was explored using pangenome comparative genome hybridization analysis. Variations were observed in the proteinase PrtP and its maturation protein PrtM, in one of the Opp transport systems and in several peptidases between strains from different Lactococcus subspecies or from different origin.
The improved functional annotation of the proteolytic system components provides an excellent framework for future experimental validations of predicted enzymatic activities. The genome sequence data can be coupled to other "omics" data e.g. transcriptomics and metabolomics for prediction of proteolytic and flavor-forming potential of LAB strains. Such an integrated approach can be used to tune the strain selection process in food fermentations.
Most bacteria at an infection site obtain energy by the breakdown of glucose via microaerophilic or anaerobic pathways and in the process yield various end products. In this study, production of D-lactic acid by Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli was correlated with glucose utilization by bacteria during exposure to antibiotics at subinhibitory, inhibitory, and suprainhibitory concentrations. D-Lactic acid production was further correlated with production of a tissue-destroying enzyme, hyaluronidase, by S. aureus. For E. coli, all agents tested showed dose-related bacterial killing, with the most noticeable being with ampicillin, piperacillin, and ciprofloxacin. Imipenem, ciprofloxacin, and chloramphenicol had the most dose-related effects on D-lactic acid production. With few exceptions, hyaluronidase production correlated well with D-lactic acid production in S. aureus. Subinhibitory concentrations of erythromycin and clindamycin effectively decreased accumulation of D-lactic acid and hyaluronidase. Determination of D-lactic acid production may perhaps serve as a means of independently monitoring the effects of antimicrobial agents on bacterial metabolic activity, which is an important aspect of antimicrobial action that remains relatively unexplored.
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been used in fermentation processes for centuries. More recent applications including the use of LAB as probiotics have significantly increased industrial interest. Here we present a comparative genomic analysis of four completely sequenced Lactobacillus strains, isolated from the human gastrointestinal tract, versus 25 lactic acid bacterial genomes present in the public database at the time of analysis. Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM, Lactobacillus johnsonii NCC533, Lactobacillus gasseri ATCC33323, and Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1are all considered probiotic and widely used in industrial applications. Using Differential Blast Analysis (DBA), each genome was compared to the respective remaining three other Lactobacillus and 25 other LAB genomes. DBA highlighted strain-specific genes that were not represented in any other LAB used in this analysis and also identified group-specific genes shared within lactobacilli. Initial comparative analyses highlighted a significant number of genes involved in cell adhesion, stress responses, DNA repair and modification, and metabolic capabilities. Furthermore, the range of the recently identified potential autonomous units (PAUs) was broadened significantly, indicating the possibility of distinct families within this genetic element. Based on in silico results obtained for the model organism L. acidophilus NCFM, DBA proved to be a valuable tool to identify new key genetic regions for functional genomics and also suggested re-classification of previously annotated genes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12263-010-0191-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
In silico analysis; PAU; Adhesion; Stress response; Bacteriophage
Lactic acid bacteria play a pivotal role in many food fermentations and sometimes represent a health threat due to the ability of some strains to produce biogenic amines that accumulate in foods and cause trouble following ingestion. These strains carry specific enzymatic systems catalyzing the uptake of amino acid precursors (e.g., ornithine and lysine), the decarboxylation inside the cell, and the release of the resulting biogenic amines (e.g., putrescine and cadaverine). This study aimed to identify the system involved in production of cadaverine from lysine, which has not been described to date for lactic acid bacteria. Strain Lactobacillus saerimneri 30a (formerly called Lactobacillus sp. 30a) produces both putrescine and cadaverine. The sequencing of its genome showed that the previously described ornithine decarboxylase gene was not associated with the gene encoding an ornithine/putrescine exchanger as in other bacteria. A new hypothetical decarboxylation system was detected in the proximity of the ornithine decarboxylase gene. It consisted of two genes encoding a putative decarboxylase sharing sequence similarities with ornithine decarboxylases and a putative amino acid transporter resembling the ornithine/putrescine exchangers. The two decarboxylases were produced in Escherichia coli, purified, and characterized in vitro, whereas the transporter was heterologously expressed in Lactococcus lactis and functionally characterized in vivo. The overall data led to the conclusion that the two decarboxylases and the transporter form a three-component decarboxylation system, with the new decarboxylase being a specific lysine decarboxylase and the transporter catalyzing both lysine/cadaverine and ornithine/putrescine exchange. To our knowledge, this is an unprecedented observation of a bacterial three-component decarboxylation system.
Diacetyl preparations from three commercial sources were found to be essentially similar when tested primarily against a set of 40 cultures, including 10 of lactic acid bacteria, 4 of yeasts, 12 of gram-positive non-lactic acid bacteria, and 14 of gram-negative bacteria. The compound was effective at pH less than or equal to 7.0 and progressively ineffective at pH greater than 7.0. The lactic acid bacteria were essentially unaffected by concentrations between 100 and 350 micrograms/ml over the pH range of 5.0 to 7.0. Of the 12 gram-positive non-lactic acid bacteria, 11 were inhibited by 300 micrograms/ml at pH less than or equal to 7.0. The three yeasts and the 13 gram-negative bacteria that grew at pH 5.5 were inhibited by 200 micrograms/ml. Diacetyl was ineffective against four clostridia under anaerobic conditions. It was lethal for gram-negative bacteria and generally inhibitory for gram-positive bacteria. Nongrowing cells were not affected. The effectiveness of diacetyl was considerably less in brain heart infusion broth, Trypticase soy agar, and cooked-meat medium than in nutrient broth or plate count agar. The antimicrobial activity was antagonized by glucose, acetate, and Tween 80 but not by gluconic acid. As an antimicrobial agent, diacetyl was clearly more effective against gram-negative bacteria, yeasts, and molds than against gram-positive bacteria.
Growth of, and rate of acid production by, six cultures of lactic acid bacteria were increased in the presence of Micrococcus isolate F4 or a preparation of its capsular material. Concentrations of hydrogen peroxide found in pure cultures of the lactic acid bacteria were not detectable, or were greatly reduced, in mixed culture with Micrococcus isolate F4. The capsular material was not as effective as whole cells in preventing accumulation of H2O2. Catalase stimulated growth of, and the rate of acid production by, the lactic acid bacteria, but not to the same extent as Micrococcus isolate F4 in some cultures. The existence of two mechanisms for micrococcal stimulation of the lactic acid bacteria is postulated. One mechanism involves removal of H2O2; the other has not been characterized.
Six malo-lactic strains of lactic acid bacteria were isolated from California wines and identified as Lactobacillus delbrueckii, L. buchneri, L. brevis, Leuconostoc citrovorum, and two strains of Pediococcus cerevisiae. Malo-lactic fermentation was induced in separate lots of wine by inoculation of each lot with one of the strains of bacteria. Malo-lactic fermentation had occurred in each inoculated wine within 2 months. The resultant wines were subjected to chemical analysis, including gas chromatographic examination of concentrated extracts of the wines. Only a few differences in composition were found when the malo-lactic wines were compared one with another. The differences that were found were in volatile acidity and in concentrations of acetoin (plus diacetyl) and probably diethyl succinate.
Lactic acid concentration correlated with organoleptic spoilage of refrigerated, coarsely ground beef stored in casings with low oxygen permeability. The samples were assayed over time for lactic acid concentration, total aerobic plate count, percentage of gram-positive organisms, and pH. Lactic acid increased in all samples, as did the bacterial counts and percentage of gram-positive organisms in the total microflora, the latter representing an increase in the lactic acid-producing bacteria. pH was found to decrease in all samples, with the smallest decrease in pH being observed in the meat sample which maintained the lowest proportion of gram-positive organisms. With samples evaluated by a sensory panel, lactic acid levels were found to correlate inversely with odor acceptability.
Susceptibility and resistance of ruminal bacterial species to avoparcin, narasin, salinomycin, thiopeptin, tylosin, virginiamycin, and two new ionophore antibiotics, RO22-6924/004 and RO21-6447/009, were determined. Generally, antimicrobial compounds were inhibitory to gram-positive bacteria and those bacteria that have gram-positive-like cell wall structure. MICs ranged from 0.09 to 24.0 micrograms/ml. Gram-negative bacteria were resistant at the highest concentration tested (48.0 micrograms/ml). On the basis of their fermentation products, ruminal bacteria that produce lactic acid, butyric acid, formic acid, or hydrogen were susceptible and bacteria that produce succinic acid or ferment lactic acid were resistant to the antimicrobial compounds. Selenomonas ruminantium was the only major lactic acid-producing bacteria resistant to all the antimicrobial compounds tested. Avoparcin and tylosin appeared to be less inhibitory (MIC greater than 6.0 micrograms/ml) than the other compounds to the two major lactic acid-producing bacteria, Streptococcus bovis and Lactobacillus sp. Ionophore compounds seemed to be more inhibitory (MIC, 0.09 to 1.50 micrograms/ml) than nonionophore compounds (MIC, 0.75 to 12.0 micrograms/ml) to the major butyric acid-producing bacteria. Treponema bryantii, an anaerobic rumen spirochete, was less sensitive to virginiamycin than to the other antimicrobial compounds. Ionophore compounds were generally bacteriostatic, and nonionophore compounds were bactericidal. The specific growth rate of Bacteroides ruminicola was reduced by all the antimicrobial compounds except avoparcin. The antibacterial spectra of the feed additives were remarkably similar, and it appears that MICs may not be good indicators of the potency of the compounds in altering ruminal fermentation characteristics.
Lactobacillus sakei is a lactic acid bacterium naturally found on meat. Although it is generally acknowledged that lactic acid bacteria are rare species in the microbial world which do not have iron requirements, the genome sequence of L. sakei 23K has revealed quite complete genetic equipment dedicated to transport and use of this metal. Here, we aimed to investigate which iron sources could be used by this species as well as their role in the bacterium's physiology. Therefore, we developed a microscopy approach based on electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) analysis and nano-scale secondary-ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) in order to analyze the iron content of L. sakei cells. This revealed that L. sakei can use iron sources found in its natural ecosystem, myoglobin, hemoglobin, hematin, and transferrin, to ensure long-term survival during stationary phase. This study reveals that analytical image methods (EELS and SIMS) are powerful complementary tools for investigation of metal utilization by bacteria.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is a type of probiotic bacteria with industrial potential for l-lactic acid production. We announce the draft genome sequence of L. rhamnosus CASL (2,855,156 bp with a G+C content of 46.6%), which is an efficient producer of l-lactic acid from cheap, nonfood substrate cassava with a high production titer.
Three genes with homology to glycosyl hydrolases were detected on a DNA fragment cloned from a psychrophilic lactic acid bacterium isolate, Carnobacterium piscicola strain BA. A 2.2-kb region corresponding to an α-galactosidase gene, agaA, was followed by two genes in the same orientation, bgaB, encoding a 2-kb β-galactosidase, and bgaC, encoding a structurally distinct 1.76-kb β-galactosidase. This gene arrangement had not been observed in other lactic acid bacteria, including Lactococcus lactis, for which the genome sequence is known. To determine if these sequences encoded enzymes with α- and β-galactosidase activities, we subcloned the genes and examined the enzyme properties. The α-galactosidase, AgaA, hydrolyzes para-nitrophenyl-α-d-galactopyranoside and has optimal activity at 32 to 37°C. The β-galactosidase, BgaC, has an optimal activity at 40°C and a half-life of 15 min at 45°C. The regulation of these enzymes was tested in C. piscicola strain BA and activity on both α- and β-galactoside substrates decreased for cells grown with added glucose or lactose. Instead, an increase in activity on a phosphorylated β-galactoside substrate was found for the cells supplemented with lactose, suggesting that a phospho-galactosidase functions during lactose utilization. Thus, the two β-galactosidases may act synergistically with the α-galactosidase to degrade other polysaccharides available in the environment.
Oenococcus oeni is an alcohol-tolerant, acidophilic lactic acid bacterium primarily responsible for malolactic fermentation in wine. A recent comparative genomic analysis of O. oeni PSU-1 with other sequenced lactic acid bacteria indicates that PSU-1 lacks the mismatch repair (MMR) genes mutS and mutL. Consistent with the lack of MMR, mutation rates for O. oeni PSU-1 and a second oenococcal species, O. kitaharae, were higher than those observed for neighboring taxa, Pediococcus pentosaceus and Leuconostoc mesenteroides. Sequence analysis of the rpoB mutations in rifampin-resistant strains from both oenococcal species revealed a high percentage of transition mutations, a result indicative of the lack of MMR. An analysis of common alleles in the two sequenced O. oeni strains, PSU-1 and BAA-1163, also revealed a significantly higher level of transition substitutions than were observed in other Lactobacillales species. These results suggest that the genus Oenococcus is hypermutable due to the loss of mutS and mutL, which occurred with the divergence away from the neighboring Leuconostoc branch. The hypermutable status of the genus Oenococcus explains the observed high level of allelic polymorphism among known O. oeni isolates and likely contributed to the unique adaptation of this genus to acidic and alcoholic environments.
Numerous microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, and molds, constitute the complex ecosystem present in milk and fermented dairy products. Our aim was to describe the bacterial ecosystem of various cheeses that differ by production technology and therefore by their bacterial content. For this purpose, we developed a rapid, semisystematic approach based on genetic profiling by temporal temperature gradient electrophoresis (TTGE) for bacteria with low-G+C-content genomes and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) for those with medium- and high-G+C-content genomes. Bacteria in the unknown ecosystems were assigned an identity by comparison with a comprehensive bacterial reference database of ∼150 species that included useful dairy microorganisms (lactic acid bacteria), spoilage bacteria (e.g., Pseudomonas and Enterobacteriaceae), and pathogenic bacteria (e.g., Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus). Our analyses provide a high resolution of bacteria comprising the ecosystems of different commercial cheeses and identify species that could not be discerned by conventional methods; at least two species, belonging to the Halomonas and Pseudoalteromonas genera, are identified for the first time in a dairy ecosystem. Our analyses also reveal a surprising difference in ecosystems of the cheese surface versus those of the interior; the aerobic surface bacteria are generally G+C rich and represent diverse species, while the cheese interior comprises fewer species that are generally low in G+C content. TTGE and DGGE have proven here to be powerful methods to rapidly identify a broad range of bacterial species within dairy products.
Growth and germination of vegetative cells and endospores of Bacillus cereus were affected by Streptococcus lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus in nonfat milk medium and by salts of organic acids in broth medium. Growth of the lactic acid bacteria was not affected by B. cereus. B. cereus increased rapidly to about 108 CFU/ml when cells were added at the beginning of growth of lactic acid bacteria; it was inactivated slowly when added after 24 h and rapidly when added after 72 h of lactic acid bacterial growth. Streptococci were more inhibitory to the growth of B. cereus than lactobacilli were at 24 h. Spore germination was not affected after 24 h, but it was inhibited after 48 and 72 h of lactic acid bacterial growth. Acetate was more inhibitory to the growth of vegetative cells, while formate was more inhibitory to spore germination. Acetate, formate, and lactate (all at 0.1 M) completely inactivated multiplication of B. cereus at pH 6.1, 6.0, and 5.6, respectively. Spores of B. cereus were more resistant to these organic acids compared with the resistance of vegetative cells. Formate, lactate, and acetate (all at 0.1 M) caused 50% inhibition of spore germination at pH 4.4, 4.3, and 4.2, respectively.