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Rope-Producing Strains of Bacillus spp. from Wheat Bread and Strategy for Their Control by Lactic Acid Bacteria

  • Olimpia Pepe
  • Giuseppe Blaiotta
  • Giancarlo Moschetti
  • Teresa Greco
  • Francesco Villani
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2003
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Two types of white wheat bread (high- and low-type loaves) were investigated for rope spoilage. Thirty of the 56 breads tested developed rope spoilage within 5 days; the high-type loaves were affected by rope spoilage more than the low-type loaves. Sixty-one Bacillus strains were isolated from ropy breads and were characterized on the basis of their phenotypic and genotypic traits. All of the isolates were identified as Bacillus subtilis by biochemical tests, but molecular assays (randomly amplified polymorphic DNA PCR assay, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis, and sequencing of the V3 region of 16S ribosomal DNA) revealed greater Bacillus species variety in ropy breads. In fact, besides strains of B. subtilis, Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus cereus, and isolates of Bacillus clausii and Bacillus firmus were also identified. All of the ropy Bacillus isolates exhibited amylase activity, whereas only 32.4% of these isolates were able to produce ropiness in bread slices after treatment at 96°C for 10 min. Strains of lactic acid bacteria previously isolated from sourdough were first selected for antirope activity on bread slices and then used as starters for bread-making experiments. Prevention of growth of approximately 104 rope-producing B. subtilis G1 spores per cm2 on bread slices for more than 15 days was observed when heat-treated cultures of Lactobacillus plantarum E5 and Leuconostoc mesenteroides A27 were added. Growth of B. subtilis G1 occurred after 7 days in breads started with Saccharomyces cerevisiae T22, L. plantarum E5, and L. mesenteroides A27.

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