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Viruses 2017, 9(3), 45; doi:10.3390/v9030045

Phage Biodiversity in Artisanal Cheese Wheys Reflects the Complexity of the Fermentation Process

1
School of Microbiology, University College Cork, T12 YT20 Cork, Ireland
2
Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, University College Cork, T12 YT20 Cork, Ireland
3
Department of Agricultural and Forest Science, University of Palermo, 90128 Palermo, Italy
4
Laboratory of Probiogenomics, Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, University of Parma, 43124 Parma, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Tessa E.F. Quax, Matthias G. Fischer and Laurent Debarbieux
Received: 3 February 2017 / Revised: 8 March 2017 / Accepted: 13 March 2017 / Published: 16 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1186 KB, uploaded 16 March 2017]   |  

Abstract

Dairy fermentations constitute a perfect “breeding ground” for bacteriophages infecting starter cultures, particularly strains of Lactococcus lactis. In modern fermentations, these phages typically belong to one of three groups, i.e., the 936, P335, and c2 phage groups. Traditional production methods present fewer chemical and physical barriers to phage proliferation compared to modern production systems, while the starter cultures used are typically complex, variable, and undefined. In the current study, a variety of cheese whey, animal-derived rennet, and vat swab samples from artisanal cheeses produced in Sicily were analysed for the presence of lactococcal phages to assess phage diversity in such environments. The complete genomes of 18 representative phage isolates were sequenced, allowing the identification of 10 lactococcal 949 group phages, six P087 group phages, and two members of the 936 group phages. The genetic diversity of these isolates was examined using phylogenetic analysis as well as a focused analysis of the receptor binding proteins, which dictate specific interactions with the host-encoded receptor. Thermal treatments at 63 °C and 83 °C indicate that the 949 phages are particularly sensitive to thermal treatments, followed by the P087 and 936 isolates, which were shown to be much less sensitive to such treatments. This difference may explain the relatively low frequency of isolation of the so-called “rare” 949 and P087 group phages in modern fermentations. View Full-Text
Keywords: bacteriophage; Lactococcus lactis; dairy fermentation; cheese; infection bacteriophage; Lactococcus lactis; dairy fermentation; cheese; infection
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mahony, J.; Moscarelli, A.; Kelleher, P.; Lugli, G.A.; Ventura, M.; Settanni, L.; van Sinderen, D. Phage Biodiversity in Artisanal Cheese Wheys Reflects the Complexity of the Fermentation Process. Viruses 2017, 9, 45.

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