Development and validation of a species-independent functional gene microarray that targets lactic acid bacteria

Stefan Weckx, Joke Allemeersch, Roel Van Der Meulen, Gino Vrancken, G. Huys, Peter Vandamme, Paul Van Hummelen, Luc De Vuyst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


During the last few years, genome-related information has become available for many microorganisms, including important food-related bacteria. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are important industrially in the production of fermented foods such as dairy products, sausages, sourdoughs, and vegetables. Despite their limited metabolic capacity, LAB contribute considerably to important characteristics of fermented foods, such as flavor and texture. In the present study, a species-independent functional gene microarray was developed that targets 406 genes that play key roles in the production of sugar catabolites, bacteriocins, exopolysaccharides, and aromas, in probiotic and biosafety characteristics, and in the stress response. Also, genes linked to negative traits, such as antibiotic resistance and virulence, are represented. As LAB ecosystems contain a variety of species, there was a more global focus on these specific functional properties. Thus, an algorithm was used to design gene-specific oligonucleotides that preferably hybridize with multiple LAB species, thereby allowing controlled cross-hybridization. For proof of concept, the microarray composed of 2,269 30-mer oligonucleotides focused on LAB species that are prevalent in sourdough ecosystems. Validation hybridizations using DNA and RNA from 18 LAB strains, covering 86% of all the oligonucleotides, showed that there were wide ranges in intensity and high reproducibility between microarrays.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6488-6495
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • Lactic acid bacteria
  • Microarray


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