Twenty-one Lactobacillus isolates from “Sha’a” (a maize – based fermented beverage) and “Kossam” (traditionally fermented cow milk) were selected in accordance with their antagonistic activities and tested for their bacterio-cinogenic potential as well as safety properties. These isolates were prelim-inarily identified as Lactobacillus plantarum (62%), Lactobacillus rhamnosus (24%), Lactobacillus fermentum (10%) and Lactobacillus coprophilus (4%) based on phenotypic characteristics and rep-PCR genomic fingerprinting. Twelve (57.1%) out of the 21 strains tested were found to be bacteriocin producers, as revealed by the sensitivity of their antimicrobial substances to proteolytic enzymes (Trypsin, Proteinase K) and inhibition of other Lactobacillus spp. These bacteriocinogenic strains showed no positive haemolytic and gelatinase activities and proved to be sensitive to penicillin G, ampicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin, amoxicillin, chloramphenicol, co-trimoxazole and doxycyclin, but resistant to ciprofloxacin and gentamicin. The bacteriocins showed a broad inhibitory activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogenic bacteria, several of which are classified as especially dangerous by the World Health Organization, as well as Multidrug-resistant strains. These include Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovare Typhi, Bacillus cereus, Streptococcus mutans, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Shigella flexneri. These Lactobacillus strains are promising candidates for use as protective cultures in food fermentation.
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