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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2006 Apr;56(1):154-64.

Usefulness of length heterogeneity-PCR for monitoring lactic acid bacteria succession during maize ensiling.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Alimentari e Microbiologiche, Universit√† degli Studi, Milan, Italy.


The use of length-heterogeneity PCR was explored to monitor lactic acid bacteria succession during ensiling of maize. Bacterial diversity was studied during the fermentation of 30-day-old maize in optimal and spoilage-simulating conditions. A length heterogeneity PCR profile database of lactic acid bacteria isolated from the silage and identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing was established. Although interoperonic 16S rRNA gene length polymorphisms were detected in some isolates, strain analysis showed that most of the lactic acid bacteria species thriving in silage could be discriminated by this method. The length heterogeneity PCR profiles of bacterial communities during maize fermentation were compared with those on a database. Under optimal fermentation conditions all the ecological indices of bacterial diversity, richness and evenness, deduced from community profiles, increased until day thirteen of fermentation and then decreased to the initial values. Pediococcus and Weissella dominated, especially in the first days of fermentation. Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis and Lactobacillus brevis were mainly found after six days of fermentation. A peak corresponding to Lactobacillus plantarum was present in all the fermentation phases, but was only a minor fraction of the population. Unsuitable fermentation conditions and withered maize leaves in the presence of oxygen and water excess caused an enrichment of Enterococcus sp. and Enterobacter sp.

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