Biodiversity of Lactococcus lactis bacteriophages in Polish dairy environment
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We present here the results of an exploration of the bacteriophage content of dairy wheys collected from milk plants localized in various regions of Poland. Thirty-three whey samples from 17 regions were analyzed and found to contain phages active against L. lactis strains. High phage titer in all whey samples suggested phage-induced lysis to be the main cause of fermentation failures. In total, over 220 isolated phages were examined for their restriction patterns, genome sizes, genetic groups of DNA homology, and host ranges. Based on DNA digestions the identified phages were classified into 34 distinct DNA restriction groups. Phage genome sizes were estimated at 14-35 kb. Multiplex PCR analysis established that the studied phages belong to two out of the three main lactococcal phage types - c2 and 936, while P335-type phages were not detected. Yet, analyses of bacterial starter strains revealed that the majority of them are lysogenic and carry prophages of P335-type in their chromosome. Phage geographical distribution and host range are additionally discussed.
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