Phenotypic and genotypic analyses of lactic acid bacteria in local fermented food, breast milk and faeces of mothers and their babies

Rima Albesharat, Matthias A. Ehrmann, Maher Korakli, Sabah Yazaji, Rudi F. Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are generally accepted as beneficial to the host and their presence is directly influenced by ingestion of fermented food or probiotics. While the intestinal lactic microbiota is well-described knowledge on its routes of inoculation and competitiveness towards selective pressure shaping the intestinal microbiota is limited. In this study, LAB were isolated from faecal samples of breast feeding mothers living in Syria, from faeces of their infants, from breast milk as well as from fermented food, typically consumed in Syria. A total of 700 isolates were characterized by genetic fingerprinting with random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and identified by comparative 16S rDNA sequencing and Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) analyses. Thirty six different species of Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, Streptococcus, Weissella and Pediococcus were identified. RAPD and MALDI-TOF-MS patterns allowed comparison of the lactic microbiota on species and strain level. Whereas some species were unique for one source, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus fermentum, Pediococcus pentosaceus and Lactobacillus brevis were found in all sources. Interestingly, identical RAPD genotypes of L. plantarum, L. fermentum, L. brevis, Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus faecalis and P. pentosaceus were found in the faeces of mothers, her milk and in faeces of her babies. Diversity of RAPD types found in food versus human samples suggests the importance of host factors in colonization and individual host specificity, and support the hypothesis that there is a vertical transfer of intestinal LAB from the mother's gut to her milk and through the milk to the infant's gut.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-155
Number of pages8
JournalSystematic and Applied Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • 16S rDNA
  • Breast milk
  • Fermented food
  • Gut microflora
  • Infant
  • Intestinal LAB
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Translocation


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