Abstract: The bacterial community of Chungkookjang and raw rice-straw collected from various areas in South Korea was investigated using both culture-dependent and culture-independent methods. Pure cultures were isolated from Chungkookjang and raw rice-straw on tryptic soy agar plates with 72 to 121 colonies and identified by 16S rDNA gene sequence analysis, respectively. The traditional culture-based method and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis of PCR-amplified 16S rDNA confirmed that Pantoea agglomerans and B. subtilis were identified as predominant in the raw rice-straw and Chungkookjang, respectively, from Iljuk district of Gyeonggi province, P. ananatis and B. licheniformis were identified as predominant in the raw rice-straw and Chungkookjang from Wonju district of Gangwon province, and Microbacterium sp. and B. licheniformis were identified as predominant in the raw rice-straw and Chungkookjang from Sunchang district of Jeolla province. Other strains, such as Bacillus, Enterococcus, Pseudomonas, Rhodococcus, and uncultured bacteria were also present in raw rice-straw and Chungkookjang.
Practical Application: A comprehensive analysis of these microorganisms would provide a more detailed understanding of the biologically active components of Chungkookjang and help improve its quality. Polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis can be successfully applied to a fermented food to detect unculturable or more species than the culture-dependent method. This technique is an effective and convenient culture-independent method for studying the bacterial community in Chungkookjang. In this study, the bacterial community of Chungkookjang collected from various areas in South Korea was investigated using both culture-dependent and culture-independent methods.