Advanced molecular tools for the identification of lactic acid bacteria

K. Ben Amor, E.E. Vaughan, W.M. de Vos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


Recent years have seen an explosion in the development and application of molecular tools for identifying microbes and analyzing their activity. These tools are increasingly applied to strains of lactic acid bacteria (LAB), including those used in fermentation and as well as those marketed as probiotics, for identification and analysis of their activity. Many of these tools are based on 16S ribosomal DNA sequences and exploit either hybridization or PCR techniques. Furthermore, complete or partial genomes of various LAB and bifidobacteria have been determined and offer omics-based approaches to analyze the activity of the bacteria provided that the mechanisms of their action are known. Finally, fluorescent probes coupled to flow cytometry are used to monitor the physiological capacity of bacterial cells in situ. All these approaches can be used for the screening and selection of LAB, assessing their role in fermentation and flavor development in fermented products. Additional aspects of probiotic LAB include their viability and vitality during processing and analysis of their presence, persistence, and performance in the gastrointestinal tract. An overview of these approaches is provided, and specific examples of their application to lactic cultures are presented. Because of their abundant use in tracing and tracking of LAB, a complete listing of 16S ribosomal RNA probes for lactobacilli and bifidobacteria is provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741S-747S
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • 16s ribosomal-rna
  • gradient gel-electrophoresis
  • polymerase-chain-reaction
  • in-situ hybridization
  • targeted oligonucleotide probes
  • delbrueckii subsp-bulgaricus
  • human gastrointestinal-tract
  • dna restriction analysis
  • dot-blot hybridization
  • pcr-based met

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