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Viruses 2018, 10(10), 577;

Biodiversity of Streptococcus thermophilus Phages in Global Dairy Fermentations

School of Microbiology & APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork, Western Road, T12 YT20 Cork, Ireland
Sacco Srl, 22071 Cadorago, Italy
Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Max Rubner-Institut, 24103 Kiel, Germany
Laboratory of Probiogenomics, Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, University of Parma, 43124 Parma, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 18 October 2018 / Accepted: 19 October 2018 / Published: 22 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
PDF [4907 KB, uploaded 24 October 2018]


Streptococcus thermophilus strains are among the most widely employed starter cultures in dairy fermentations, second only to those of Lactococcus lactis. The extensive application of this species provides considerable opportunity for the proliferation of its infecting (bacterio)phages. Until recently, dairy streptococcal phages were classified into two groups (cos and pac groups), while more recently, two additional groups have been identified (5093 and 987 groups). This highlights the requirement for consistent monitoring of phage populations in the industry. Here, we report a survey of 35 samples of whey derived from 27 dairy fermentation facilities in ten countries against a panel of S. thermophilus strains. This culminated in the identification of 172 plaque isolates, which were characterized by multiplex PCR, restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, and host range profiling. Based on this characterisation, 39 distinct isolates representing all four phage groups were selected for genome sequencing. Genetic diversity was observed among the cos isolates and correlations between receptor binding protein phylogeny and host range were also clear within this phage group. The 987 phages isolated within this study shared high levels of sequence similarity, yet displayed reduced levels of similarity to those identified in previous studies, indicating that they are subject to ongoing genetic diversification. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecology; dairy fermentation; phage typing; genomics ecology; dairy fermentation; phage typing; genomics

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Lavelle, K.; Martinez, I.; Neve, H.; Lugli, G.A.; Franz, C.M.A.P.; Ventura, M.; Bello, F.D.; Sinderen, D.V.; Mahony, J. Biodiversity of Streptococcus thermophilus Phages in Global Dairy Fermentations. Viruses 2018, 10, 577.

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