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Screening of lactic acid bacteria isolates from dairy and cereal products for exopolysaccharide production and genes involved

Meulen, R. van der, Grosu-Tudor, S., Mozzi, F., Vaningelgem, F., Zamfir, M., Valdez, G.F. de, Vuyst, L. de
International journal of food microbiology 2007 v.118 no.3 pp. 250-258
dairy products, food grains, isolation, lactic acid bacteria, starter cultures, polysaccharides, biosynthesis, glucans, ultrafiltration, genes, polymerase chain reaction, Lactococcus lactis, Lactobacillus curvatus, serotypes
A total of 174 lactic acid bacteria (LAB) strains isolated from dairy and cereal products were screened for the production of exopolysaccharides (EPS). Therefore, a rapid screening method was developed based on ultrafiltration and gel permeation chromatography. Furthermore, a screening through the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed with primer pairs targeting different genes involved in EPS production. Nine isolates produced a homopolysaccharide of the glucan type, whereas only one strain produced a heteropolysaccharide. The production of a glucan by a strain of Lactococcus lactis and the production of a heteropolysaccharide by a strain of Lactobacillus curvatus are reported for the first time. The PCR screening revealed many positive strains. For three of the ten EPS-producing strains, no corresponding genes could be detected. Furthermore, a lot of strains possessed one or more eps genes but did not produce an EPS. Therefore, a screening on the molecular level should always be accompanied by another screening method that is able to distinguish true EPS producer strains from non-producing ones. Statistical analysis did not reveal any relationship between the type and origin of the strains, the presence or absence of a capsular polysaccharide or EPS, and the presence or absence of eps genes.