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Keywords:

  • bacteriocins;
  • cheese;
  • Enterococcus;
  • milk;
  • PCR;
  • RAPD;
  • virulence

Abstract

Aims

To provide molecular and phenotypical characterization of Enterococcus isolates obtained from raw milk and cheese, regarding their bacteriocinogenic and virulence activity.

Methods and Results

Forty-three bacteriocinogenic enterococci isolates were identified by 16s rDNA, fingerprinted by RAPD-PCR analysis and tested by PCR for the presence of genes for lantibiotics (lanM, lanB and lanC) and enterocins (entA, entB, entP, entL50AB and entAS48) and by phenotypical methods for bacteriocin production and inhibitory spectrum. Also, the virulence of the isolates was evaluated by PCR for genes gelE, hyl, asa1, esp, cylA, efaA, ace, vanA, vanB, hdc1, hdc2, tdc and odc and by phenotypical tests for gelatinase, lipase, DNAse and α- and β-haemolysis. Most isolates (93·0%) harboured at least one lantibiotic or enterocin gene and were positive for several tested virulence genes, mainly asa1 (100%), gelE (93·0%) and efaA (83·7%). 53·5% of the isolates presented β-haemolysis.

Conclusions

Enterococcus spp. isolates presented an interesting potential application for food preservation because of bacteriocin production; however, virulence-related genes were identified in all RAPD profiles.

Significance and Impact of the Study

The study demonstrated the contradictory characteristics of the tested Enterococcus isolates: they presented a good potential for application in food biopreservation but contained several virulence factors.