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Microbiological Study of Lactic Acid Fermentation of Caper Berries by Molecular and Culture-Dependent Methods

Pérez Pulido, Rubén, Ben Omar, Nabil, Abriouel, Hikmate, Lucas López, Rosario, Martínez Cañamero, Magdalena, Gálvez, Antonio
Applied and environmental microbiology 2005 v.71 no.12 pp. 7872-7879
Capparis spinosa, fruits (food), fermented foods, lactic fermentation, acidification, ribosomal RNA, genes, nucleotide sequences, polymerase chain reaction, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus paraplantarum, Lactobacillus pentosus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus fermentum, Pediococcus pentosaceus, Pediococcus acidilactici, Enterococcus faecium, cell culture, electrophoresis, random amplified polymorphic DNA technique
Fermentation of capers (the fruits of Capparis sp.) was studied by molecular and culture-independent methods. A lactic acid fermentation occurred following immersion of caper berries in water, resulting in fast acidification and development of the organoleptic properties typical of this fermented food. A collection of 133 isolates obtained at different times of fermentation was reduced to 75 after randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD)-PCR analysis. Isolates were identified by PCR or 16S rRNA gene sequencing as Lactobacillus plantarum (37 isolates), Lactobacillus paraplantarum (1 isolate), Lactobacillus pentosus (5 isolates), Lactobacillus brevis (9 isolates), Lactobacillus fermentum (6 isolates), Pediococcus pentosaceus (14 isolates), Pediococcus acidilactici (1 isolate), and Enterococcus faecium (2 isolates). Cluster analysis of RAPD-PCR patterns revealed a high degree of diversity among lactobacilli (with four major groups and five subgroups), while pediococci clustered in two closely related groups. A culture-independent analysis of fermentation samples by temporal temperature gradient electrophoresis (TTGE) also indicated that L. plantarum is the predominant species in this fermentation, in agreement with culture-dependent results. The distribution of L. brevis and L. fermentum in samples was also determined by TTGE, but identification of Pediococcus at the species level was not possible. TTGE also allowed a more precise estimation of the distribution of E. faecium, and the detection of Enterococcus casseliflavus (which was not revealed by the culture-dependent analysis). Results from this study indicate that complementary data from molecular and culture-dependent analysis provide a more accurate determination of the microbial community dynamics during caper fermentation.