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Characterization of Six Leuconostoc fallax Bacteriophages Isolated from an Industrial Sauerkraut Fermentation†

  • Rodolphe Barrangou
  • Sung-Sik Yoon
  • Jr., Frederick Breidt
  • Henry P. Fleming
  • Todd R. Klaenhammer
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2002
  • Biology
  • Ecology


Six bacteriophages active against Leuconostoc fallax strains were isolated from industrial sauerkraut fermentation brines. These phages were characterized as to host range, morphology, structural proteins, and genome fingerprint. They were exclusively lytic against the species L. fallax and had different host ranges among the strains of this species tested. Morphologically, three of the phages were assigned to the family Siphoviridae, and the three others were assigned to the family Myoviridae. Major capsid proteins detected by electrophoresis were distinct for each of the two morphotypes. Restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis and randomly amplified polymorphic DNA fingerprinting showed that all six phages were genetically distinct. These results revealed for the first time the existence of bacteriophages that are active against L. fallax and confirmed the presence and diversity of bacteriophages in a sauerkraut fermentation. Since a variety of L. fallax strains have been shown to be present in sauerkraut fermentation, bacteriophages active against L. fallax are likely to contribute to the microbial ecology of sauerkraut fermentation and could be responsible for some of the variability observed in this type of fermentation.

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