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Int J Food Microbiol. 1998 Dec 8;45(2):85-92.

Characterization of lactococci isolated from minimally processed fresh fruit and vegetables.

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Horticulture and Food Research Institute, Palmerston North Research Centre, New Zealand.


Lactic acid bacteria isolated from minimally processed fresh fruit and vegetable products were identified as Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis on the basis of phenotypic tests, presence of lactococcal IS elements, and partial sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA gene. Isolated bacteria were differentiated using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of SmaI digests of genomic DNA. Sprouted seeds were the best source of strains, and lactococci appear to be the dominant microflora on these products during the period they are intended to be eaten. Although these plant strains showed many similarities to strains of L. lactis used as dairy starter cultures, their carbohydrate fermentation patterns were unusual and probably reflect their environmental origin. Most strains fermented sucrose and xylose, and some also fermented raffinose and melibiose. Most of the bacteriocin-producing strains produced nisin, and nisin genes could also be detected in strains that showed no bacteriocin activity, or that produced a different bacteriocin with a narrow spectrum of activity. One strain produced nisin but was unable to ferment sucrose, properties that have been generally regarded as linked. These strains may have uses as biopreservatives for minimally processed plant products.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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