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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Dec;75(23):7501-8. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01430-09. Epub 2009 Oct 2.

Strain-specific genotyping of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis by using single-nucleotide polymorphisms, insertions, and deletions.

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  • 1Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Several probiotic strains of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis are widely supplemented into food products and dietary supplements due to their documented health benefits and ability to survive within the mammalian gastrointestinal tract and acidified dairy products. The strain specificity of these characteristics demands techniques with high discriminatory power to differentiate among strains. However, to date, molecular approaches, such as pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and randomly amplified polymorphic DNA-PCR, have been ineffective at achieving strain separation due to the monomorphic nature of this subspecies. Previously, sequencing and comparison of two B. animalis subsp. lactis genomes (DSMZ 10140 and Bl-04) confirmed this high level of sequence similarity, identifying only 47 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and four insertions and/or deletions (INDELs) between them. In this study, we hypothesized that a sequence-based typing method targeting these loci would permit greater discrimination between strains than previously attempted methods. Sequencing 50 of these loci in 24 strains of B. animalis subsp. lactis revealed that a combination of nine SNPs/INDELs could be used to differentiate strains into 14 distinct genotypic groups. In addition, the presence of a nonsynonymous SNP within the gene encoding a putative glucose uptake protein was found to correlate with the ability of certain strains to transport glucose and to grow rapidly in a medium containing glucose as the sole carbon source. The method reported here can be used in clinical, regulatory, and commercial applications requiring identification of B. animalis subsp. lactis at the strain level.

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