Publication: Research - peer-review › Journal article – Annual report year: 2007
Bacteriophage infection in dairy fermentation constitutes a serious problem worldwide. We have studied bacteriophage infection in Lactococcus lactis by using the flow cytometer. The first effect of the infection of the bacterium is a change from cells in chains toward single cells. We interpret this change as a consequence of a cease in cell growth, while the ongoing cell divisions leave the cells as single cells. Late in the infection cycle, cells with low-density cell walls appear, and these cells can be detected on cytograms of light scatter versus, for instance, fluorescence of stained DNA. We describe a new method for detection of phage infection in Lactococcus lactis dairy cultures. The method is based on flow cytometric detection of cells with low-density cell walls. The method allows fast and early detection of phage-infected bacteria, independently of which phage has infected the culture. The method can be performed in real time and therefore increases the chance of successful intervention in the fermentation process.
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