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Int J Food Microbiol. 2005 Aug 15;103(1):91-6.

Bacterial community structure in kimchi, a Korean fermented vegetable food, as revealed by 16S rRNA gene analysis.

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School of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, 56-1 Shillim-dong, Kwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742, Republic of Korea.


Kimchi is a traditional Korean food fermented from a variety of vegetables. We elucidated the microbial community structure of five commercially produced kimchis made from Chinese cabbage by examining culture-independent 16S rRNA gene clone libraries. Most of the clones (347 out of 348) belonged to lactic acid bacteria and included several species of the genera Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc and Weissella. Weissella koreensis was found in all the samples and predominated in three of them (42.6-82%). Leuconostoc gelidum, Leuconostoc gasicomitatum and Lactobacillus sakei were common in the remaining kimchi clone libraries (>34%). The composition of bacterial phylotypes in kimchi varied between samples. Our approach revealed different community structures from those reported in previous culture-dependent studies based on phenotypic identification methods. The culture-independent method used here proved to be efficient and accurate and showed that the bacterial communities in kimchi differ from those in other fermented vegetable foods.

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