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Int J Food Microbiol. 2001 Jul 20;67(1-2):19-34.

DNA-based, culture-independent strategies for evaluating microbial communities in food-associated ecosystems.

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  • 1Istituto Sperimentale Lattiero Caseario, Lodi, Italy.


Culture-independent molecular techniques are now available to study microbial ecosystems. They are opening interesting perspectives to problems related to composition and population dynamics of microbial communities in various environmental niches (e.g., soil, water) and foods. In fermented food products, estimates of true microbial diversity is often difficult chiefly on account of the inability to cultivate most of the viable bacteria. The increasing knowledge of gene sequences and the concomitant development of new culture-independent molecular techniques are providing new and effective tools to compare the diversity of microbial communities and to monitor population dynamics in minimally disturbed samples. In this review, recent advances in these techniques are reported. Possible applications to food-associated microbial ecosystems are emphasised.

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