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Identification Of The Bacterial Microflora In Dairy Products By Temporal Temperature Gradient Gel Electrophoresis

Jean-Claude Ogier, Olivier Son, Alexandra Gruss, Patrick Tailliez, Agnes Delacroix-Buchet

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ABSTRACT Numerous microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, and molds, are present in cheeses, forming a complex ecosystem. Among these organisms, bacteria are responsible for most of the physicochemical and aromatic transformations that are intrinsic to the cheesemaking process. Identification of the bacteria that constitute the cheese ecosystem is essential for understanding their individual contributions to cheese production. We used temporal temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TTGE) to identify different bacterial species present in several dairy products, including members of the genera Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Leuconostoc, Enterococcus, Pediococcus, Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus. The TTGE technique is based on electrophoretic separation of 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) fragments by using a temperature gradient. It was optimized to reveal differences in the 16S rDNA V3 regions of bacteria with low-G+C-content genomes. Using multiple control strains, we first set up a species database in which each species (or group of species) was characterized by a specific TTGE fingerprint. TTGE was then applied to controlled dairy ecosystems with defined compositions, including liquid (starter), semisolid (home-made fermented milk), and solid (miniature cheese models) matrices. Finally, the potential of TTGE to describe the bacterial microflora of unknown ecosystems was tested with various commercial dairy products. Subspecies, species, or groups of species of lactic acid bacteria were distinguished in dairy samples. In conclusion, TTGE was shown to distinguish bacterial species in vitro, as well as in both liquid and solid dairy products.