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Syst Appl Microbiol. 1998 Dec;21(4):530-8.

Molecular diversity and relationship within Lactococcus lactis, as revealed by randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD).

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Unité de Recherches Laitières et Génétique Appliquée, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Jouy-en-Josas, France.


Lactococcus lactis strains are widely used in industrial dairy fermentations. Conventional phenotypic tests have been used for years to classify members of this species into two subspecies, lactis and cremoris, and play a key role in the choice of strains to be used in particular cheese fermentations. DNA hybridisation techniques have also been used for strain classification, giving rise to two genome homology groups. However, results showed discrepancies between the two methods of classification. We applied the randomly amplified polymorphic DNA fingerprinting (RAPD) technique to resolve previous contradictions in lactococcal classifications. Unlike usual RAPD methods, we use three primers to classify 113 strains and integrate the resulting information by a digitised programme used for this purpose. Our analysis revealed three major RAPD groups, designated G1, G2 and G3. G1 and G3 contain strains of the lactis subspecies, and G2 contains strains of the cremoris subspecies, as previously defined by phenotypic characteristics. Moreover, group G1 corresponds to one genome homology group, and groups G2 and G3 correspond to the second one. The taxonomic structure within L. lactis is therefore unusual: two distinct genetic groups of strains show indistinguishable phenotypes, while conversely, two phenotypically distinct groups are genetically homologous. We hypothesize that a subfamily of the subsp. lactis group gave rise to the cremoris subspecies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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