SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Bacillus spp.;
  • Paenibacillus spp.;
  • subtyping;
  • sporeformers;
  • milk

ABSTRACT

Bacillus spp. and related sporeformers are important food spoilage organisms. While use of molecular subtyping methods has provided important information on the ecology and transmission of foodborne pathogens, the lack of rapid, reliable, and affordable subtyping methods for Bacillus spp. has limited our ability to understand and control their transmission throughout the food chain. We used a previously described collection of Bacillus spp. and Paenibacillus spp. isolated from dairy products to develop a DNA sequencing-based subtyping approach for these spoilage microorganisms. After optimization of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) parameters, primers targeting the rpoB housekeeping gene allowed for successful amplification in all isolates. rpoB sequencing allowed differentiation of 29 subtypes (that is, sequence types) among the 57 isolates characterized. Phylogenetic analyses of rpoB sequences revealed distinct monophyletic lineages that correlated with bacterial genera (Bacillus and Paenibacillus) as well as with species or species-like assemblages within each genus. rpoB sequencing provided improved subtype discrimination over 16S rDNA sequencing; therefore, rpoB sequencing allows for both sensitive subtype discrimination as well as for species and genus identification. Analysis of subtypes isolated over time in dairy products revealed the presence of both persistent and transient bacterial subtypes, indicating that application of these methods can improve our understanding of the ecology of these spoilage organisms and can help in identification of bacterial niches that may contribute to the persistence of these spoilage organisms in food systems.