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Succession of dominant and antagonistic lactic acid bacteria in fermented cucumber: Insights from a PCR-based approach

Singh, A.K., Ramesh, A.
Food microbiology 2008 v.25 no.2 pp. 278-287
cucumbers, salting, cured foods, fermentation, starter cultures, lactic acid bacteria, Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Pediococcus, bacteriocins, mesentericins, pediocins, plantaricins, antagonists, food pathogens, Bacillus cereus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, bacterial contamination, polymerase chain reaction, fermented foods, antibacterial properties
The goal of the investigation was to study the succession of major groups of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and their antagonism in salt-fermented cucumber using PCR. In a direct detection method as well as a short enrichment process, PCR enabled detection of Leuconostoc and Lactobacillus during early hours of fermentation. Subsequently, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus emerged as the dominant genera. Nucleic acid sequence of culture-independent clones confirmed the detection of Pediococcus as a dominant genera emerging during late stages of fermentation. PCR also revealed time-dependent emergence of mesentericin, pediocin and plantaricin A producers and accounted for the LAB succession in the fermenting samples. A total of 328 LAB isolates were obtained collectively from 30 cucumber samples, of which PCR could identify an overwhelming 186 Lactobacillus isolates followed by 113 Pediococcus and 29 Leuconostoc isolates, respectively. Based on antimicrobial assay against target strain Leuconostoc mesenteroides NRRL B640, 28% of the LAB were bacteriocin producers, of which pediocin producers were substantial, followed by plantaricin A and mesentericin producers. The bacteriocins elaborated by the isolates were active against a large number of Gram-positive target LAB strains and pathogenic bacteria including Bacillus cereus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus.