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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1998 Sep;64(9):3313-9.

Identification and characterization of Leuconostoc carnosum, associated with production and spoilage of vacuum-packaged, sliced, cooked ham.

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Department of Food and Environmental Hygiene, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. johanna.bjö


Leuconostoc carnosum was shown to be the specific spoilage organism in vacuum-packaged, sliced, cooked ham showing spoilage during 3 weeks of shelf life. Identification of the specific spoilage organism was done by use of phenotypic data and ClaI, EcoRI, and HindIII reference strain ribopatterns. One hundred L. carnosum isolates associated with the production and spoilage of the ham were further characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), together with some meat-associated Leuconostoc species: L. citreum, L. gelidum, L. mesenteroides subsp. dextranicum, and L. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides. ApaI and SmaI digests divided the industrial L. carnosum strains into 25 different PFGE types, ApaI and SmaI types being consistent. Only one specific PFGE type was associated with the spoiled packages. This type also was detected in air and raw-meat mass samples. The spoilage strain did not produce bacteriocins. Only seven isolates belonging to three different PFGE types produced bacteriocins. Similarity analysis of the industrial L. carnosum strains revealed a homogeneous cluster which could be divided into eight subclusters consisting of strains having at most three-fragment differences. The L. carnosum cluster was clearly distinguished from the other meat-associated leuconostoc clusters, with the exception of the L. carnosum type strain. Ribotyping can be very helpful in the identification of L. carnosum, but its discriminatory power is too weak for strain characterization. PFGE provides good discrimination for studies dealing with the properties of homogeneous L. carnosum strains.

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