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J Appl Microbiol. 2000 Mar;88(3):482-94.

Preliminary characterization of bacteriocins produced by Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis isolated from pig faeces.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and Federal Research Centre for Nutrition, Institute of Hygiene and Toxicology, Karlsruhe, Germany.


A total of 92 enterococci, isolated from the faeces of minipigs subjected to an in vivo feeding trial, were screened for the production of antimicrobial substances. Bacteriocin production was confirmed for seven strains, of which four were identified as Enterococcus faecalis and three as Enterococcus faecium, on the basis of physiological and biochemical characteristics. The bacteriocins produced by the Ent. faecalis strains showed a narrow spectrum of activity, mainly against other Enterococcus spp., compared with those from the Ent. faecium strains showing a broader spectrum of activity, against indicator strains of Enterococcus spp., Listeria spp., Clostridium spp. and Propionibacterium spp. The bacteriocins of all seven Enterococcus strains were inactivated by alpha-chymotrypsin, proteinase K, trypsin, pronase, pepsin and papain, but not by lipase, lysozyme and catalase. The bacteriocins were heat stable and displayed highest activity at neutral pH. The molecular weight of the bacteriocins, as determined by tricine SDS-PAGE, was approximately 3.4 kDa. Only the strains of Ent. faecalis were found to contain plasmids. PCR detection revealed that the bacteriocins produced by Ent. faecium BFE 1170 and BFE 1228 were similar to enterocin A, whereas those produced by Ent. faecium BFE 1072 displayed homology with enterocin L50A and B.

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