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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2008 Jun;31(2):126-40. doi: 10.1016/j.syapm.2008.03.002. Epub 2008 Apr 10.

Comparative analysis of the diversity of aerobic spore-forming bacteria in raw milk from organic and conventional dairy farms.

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1
Laboratory of Microbiology (LM-UGent), Department of Biochemistry, Physiology and Microbiology, Ghent University, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. An.Coorevits@UGent.be

Abstract

Bacterial contamination of raw milk can originate from different sources: air, milking equipment, feed, soil, faeces and grass. It is hypothesized that differences in feeding and housing strategies of cows may influence the microbial quality of milk. This assumption was investigated through comparison of the aerobic spore-forming flora in milk from organic and conventional dairy farms. Laboratory pasteurized milk samples from five conventional and five organic dairy farms, sampled in late summer/autumn and in winter, were plated on a standard medium and two differential media, one screening for phospholipolytic and the other for proteolytic activity of bacteria. Almost 930 isolates were obtained of which 898 could be screened via fatty acid methyl ester analysis. Representative isolates were further analysed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and (GTG)(5)-PCR. The majority of aerobic spore-formers in milk belonged to the genus Bacillus and showed at least 97% 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity with type strains of Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus pumilus, Bacillus circulans, Bacillus subtilis and with type strains of species belonging to the Bacillus cereus group. About 7% of all isolates may belong to possibly new spore-forming taxa. Although the overall diversity of aerobic spore-forming bacteria in milk from organic vs. conventional dairy farms was highly similar, some differences between both were observed: (i) a relatively higher number of thermotolerant organisms in milk from conventional dairy farms compared to organic farms (41.2% vs. 25.9%), and (ii) a relatively higher number of B. cereus group organisms in milk from organic (81.3%) and Ureibacillus thermosphaericus in milk from conventional (85.7%) dairy farms. One of these differences, the higher occurrence of B. cereus group organisms in milk from organic dairy farms, may be linked to differences in housing strategy between the two types of dairy farming. However, no plausible clarification was found for the relatively higher number of thermotolerant organisms and the higher occurrence of U. thermosphaericus in milk from conventional dairy farms. Possibly this is due to differences in feeding strategy but no decisive indications were found to support this assumption.

PMID:
18406093
DOI:
10.1016/j.syapm.2008.03.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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