, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 17-24

DNA Fingerprinting of Dairy Propionibacteria Strainsby Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis

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Restriction endonuclease patterns generated by Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) were used to compare 96 strains of dairy propionibacteria originating from dairy products, international and industrial collections; endonucleases XbaI and SspI gave satisfactory restriction patterns. However, whereas XbaI can be used for Propionibacterium freudenreichii, SspI seems more suitable for the three other species: P. acidipropionici, P. thoenii, and P. jensenii. It is a convenient method to differentiate the dairy propionibacteria from closely related bacteria and from others usually present in dairy products. We observed a considerable restriction fragment length polymorphism among the Propionibacterium chromosomes and especially for P. freudenreichii: among 48 strains we detected 40 different patterns. This species is the most commonly encountered in the Swiss-type cheeses and is the only Propionibacterium species used as a cheese starter. Conversely, the species P. acidipropionici is not very diverse: among nine strains we observed only four different patterns, two of which were closely related. This is probably because this species is not used as a starter in cheese manufacture and consequently is poorly represented in collections. When strains come from geographical different isolates, their patterns are always different with very few common bands. The presence of numerous identical strains was due to the fact that they were present at the same time in the national collections, research laboratory collections, and in the industrial ones.