Lactic acid bacteria isolated from various Thai fermented foods were screened for the presence of nisin gene by using PCR with primers specific to nisin A structural gene. Only one strain, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis TFF 221, isolated from kung jom, a traditional
shrimp paste, was found to carry a nisin gene. The TFF 221 nisin had antimicrobial activity against not only closely related lactic acid bacteria but also some foodborne pathogens. It was heat stable and inactivated by α-chymotrypsin and proteinase K. Some characteristics of TFF 221
nisin were found to be very similar to those of nisin A produced by Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis NCDO 2111. Both of them had the same antimicrobial spectrum and MICs against all indicator bacteria. However, when assayed with indicator organisms, in all cases the TFF 221 nisin
produced larger zones of inhibition in agar diffusion assays than the nisin A did. Sequencing of the TFF 221 nisin gene showed that it was the natural nisin variant, nisin Z, as indicated by the substitution of asparagine residue instead of histidine at position 27. The nisin determinant in
strain TFF 221 was found to be located on a conjugative transposon residing in the chromosome. The ability of the nisin produced by L. lactis subsp. lactis TFF 221 to inhibit a wide range of foodborne pathogens may be useful in improving the food safety of the fermented product,
especially in the Thai environment, which suffers from perennial problems of poor food hygiene.
Document Type: Research Article
Department of Biological Science, Faculty of Science, Ubon Ratchathani University, Warin Chamrap, Ubon Ratchathani 34190, Thailand
Publication date: October 1, 2008
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