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Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus is one of the most widely used starter culture strains in industrial fermented dairy manufacture. It is also common in naturally fermented dairy foods made using traditional methods. The subsp. bulgaricus strains found in naturally fermented foods may be useful for improving current industrial starter cultures; however, little is known regarding its genetic diversity and population structure. Here, a collection of 298 L. delbrueckii strains from naturally fermented products in Mongolia, Russia, and West China was analyzed by multi-locus sequence typing based on eight conserved genes. The 251 confirmed subsp. bulgaricus strains produced 106 unique sequence types, the majority of which were assigned to five clonal complexes (CCs). The geographical distribution of CCs was uneven, with CC1 dominated by Mongolian and Russian isolates, and CC2-CC5 isolates exclusively from Xinjiang, China. Population structure analysis suggested six lineages, L1-L6, with various homologous recombination rates. Although L2-L5 were mainly restricted within specific regions, strains belonging to L1 and L6 were observed in diverse regions, suggesting historical transmission events. These results greatly enhance our knowledge of the population diversity of subsp. bulgaricus strains, and suggest that strains from CC1 and L4 may be useful as starter strains in industrial fermentation.
Yuqin Song,Zhihong Sun
Yuqin Song,Zhihong Sun,Chenyi Guo,Yarong Wu,Wenjun Liu,Jie Yu,Bilige Menghe,Ruifu Yang,Heping Zhang