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Keywords:

  • enterococci;
  • fermented foods;
  • genotyping;
  • Hussuwa

Abstract

Aims:  To identify enterococci from Hussuwa, a Sudanese fermented sorghum product, and determine their technological properties and safety for possible inclusion in a starter culture preparation.

Methods and Results:  Twenty-two Enterococcus isolates from Hussuwa were identified as Enterococcus faecium by using phenotypic and genotypic tests such as 16S rDNA gene sequencing, RAPD-PCR and restriction fragment length polymorphism of the 16S/23S intergenic spacer region fingerprinting. Genotyping revealed that strains were not clonally related and exhibited a considerable degree of genomic diversity. Some strains possessed useful technological properties such as production of bacteriocins and H2O2 or utilization of raffinose and stachyose. None produced α-amylase or tannase. A safety investigation revealed that all strains were susceptible to the antibiotics ampicillin, gentamicin, chloramphenicol, tetracycline and streptomycin, but some were resistant to ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, penicillin and vancomycin. Production of biogenic amines or presence of genes encoding virulence determinants occurred in some strains.

Conclusions: Enterococcus faecium strains are associated with fermentation of Sudanese Hussuwa. Some strains exhibited useful technological properties such as production of antimicrobial agents and fermentation of indigestible sugars, which may aid in stabilizing and improving the digestibility of the product respectively.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  Enterococci were shown to play a role in the fermentation of African foods. While beneficial properties of these bacteria are indicated, their presence in this food may also imply a hygienic risk as a result of antimicrobial resistances or presence of virulence determinants.