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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 May;52(5):614-23. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200700158.

DGGE and real-time PCR analysis of lactic acid bacteria in bacterial communities of the phyllosphere of lettuce.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Vienna, Austria.


Food associated indigenous microbial communities exert antagonistic effects on pathogens and may routinely deliver health relevant microorganisms to the GI tract. By using molecular, culture independent methods including PCR-DGGE of 16S rDNA-coding regions and real-time PCR (RT-PCR) as well as BIOLOG metabolic fingerprinting, microbial communities on lettuce were analyzed in samples from fields, from supermarkets and soil. Amplified 16S rRNA gene sequences (57.7%) could be assigned to species previously reported as typical for the phyllosphere including Pantoea agglomerans, Pseudomonas flavescens, Moraxella spp., and Mycobacterium spp. 71.8% of the sequences obtained represented so far undescribed taxa. Principal component analysis of BIOLOG metabolic profiles indicated a seasonal variation in the lettuce phyllosphere microbial community structure. Various lactic acid bacteria were detected including several Lactobacillus and Leuconostoc species in particular on lettuce from organic farming. By RT-PCR lactobacilli were found with a range of abundances from 1x10(4 )to 1x10(5 )copies/g lettuce. Considering the importance of salad in many diets lettuce may contribute to a constant supply with LAB.

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