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Microbial Cell Factories

, 5:30

First Online: 10 October 2006Received: 19 September 2006Accepted: 10 October 2006


BackgroundSuccessful application of growth inhibition techniques for quantitative determination of bacteriocins relies on the sensitivity of the applied indicator microorganism to the bacteriocin to which is exposed. However, information on indicator microorganisms- performance and comparisons in bacteriocin determination with bioassays is almost non-existing in the literature. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the parameter -indicator microorganism- in bioassays carried out on solid -agar diffusion assay- and liquid -turbidometric assay- substrates, applied in the quantification of the most studied bacteriocin nisin.

ResultsThe performance of characterized microorganisms of known sources, belonging to the genera of Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, Micrococcus and Leuconostoc, has been assessed in this work in the assays of plate agar diffusion and turbidometry. Dose responses and sensitivities were examined and compared over a range of assay variables in standard bacteriocin solutions, fermentation broth filtrates and processed food samples. Measurements on inhibition zones produced on agar plates were made by means of digital image analysis. The data produced were analyzed statistically using the ANOVA technique and pairwise comparisons tests. Sensitivity limits and linearity of responses to bacteriocin varied significantly among different test-microorganisms in both applied methods, the lower sensitivity limits depending on both the test-microorganism and the applied method. In both methods, however, only two of the nine tested microorganisms Lactobacillus curvatus ATCC 51436 and Pediococcus acidilactici ATCC 25740 were sensitive to very low concentrations of the bacteriocin and produced a linear-type of response in all kinds of samples used in this work. In all cases, very low bacteriocin concentrations, e.g. 1 IU-ml nisin, were more accurately determined in the turbidometric assay.

ConclusionThe present work shows that in growth inhibition techniques used in bacteriocin quantification, the choice of the indicator microorganism is critical. Evaluation of sensitivity levels and type of produced responses showed that they can vary widely among different test-microorganisms and different applied methods, indicating that not all microorganisms can be used successfully as indicators and that measurements of growth inhibition in liquid media produce more reliable results.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1475-2859-5-30 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Maria Papagianni - Nicholaos Avramidis - George Filioussis - Despina Dasiou - Ioannis Ambrosiadis


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