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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1997 Jul;63(7):2702-7.

Strain-specific differentiation of lactococci in mixed starter culture populations using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA-derived probes.

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Institute of Food Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


A hydrophobic grid membrane filtration (HGMF) colony hybridization assay was developed that allows strain-specific differentiation of defined bacterial populations. The randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fingerprinting technique was used to identify potential signature nucleic acid sequences unique to each member of a commercial cheese starter culture blend. The blend consisted of two closely related Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris strains, 160 and 331, and one L. lactis subsp. lactis strain, 210. Three RAPD primers (OPX 1, OPX 12, and OPX 15) generated a total of 32 products from these isolates, 20 of which were potential strain-specific markers. Southern hybridization analyses revealed, that the RAPD-generated signature sequences OPX15-0.95 and a 0.36-kb HaeIII fragment of OPX1-1.0b were specific for strains 331 and 210, respectively, within the context of the test starter culture blend. These strain-specific probes were used in a HGMF colony hybridization assay. Colony lysis, hybridization, and nonradioactive detection parameters were optimized to allow specific differentiation and quantitation of the target strains in the mixed starter culture population. When the 210 and 331 probes were tested at their optimal hybridization temperatures against single cultures, they detected 100% of the target strain CFUs, without cross-reactivity to the other strains. The probes for strains 210 and 331 also successfully detected their targets in blended cultures even with a high background of the other two strains.

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