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STC (BMBF) collaborative project with Turkey (Cukurova University, Adana, Turkey)

Biotechnological and molecular characterisation of antibiotic resistant lactic acid bacteria isolated from dairy and meat products

Collaborator: Prof. Dr Zerrin Erginkaya (Cukurova University, Adana, Turkey)
Student assistant: Julia Rosenlöcher (TU Berlin)

Goat cheese

Increasing resistance of bacteria to commonly used antibiotics has become a serious problem. Food bacteria could act as reservoirs for resistance genes. There are very few systematic studies on antibiotic resistant lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in traditional fermented dairy and meat products. The project focuses on monitoring of antibiotic resistance in LAB isolates from Turkish dairy and meat products, as well as on the characterisation of resistance and transfer (tra) genes carried by them. Main objectives are the identification of lactic acid bacteria to species level in fermented Turkish food products, determination of their inherent antibiotic resistance and their horizontal transmissibility.

The data shall aid in assessing food safety of LAB and lead to recommendations for the application of safe starter cultures.

The project tasks are divided into

  • cultivation and biochemical methods (Adana) and
  • molecular approaches (Berlin).

Experimental procedure

Sausages, pastýrma, cheeses, yoghurts and kefirs will be purchased from shops in the south and southeast of Turkey and analysed for LAB. Bacterial isolates from selective media will be identified by cultural and biochemical tests, tested for growth at different temperatures and pH. Identification of LAB at species level will be done with API tests. Biotechnological characteristics, proteolytic, lipolytic activity, citrate metabolism, production of lactic acid, tolerance to low pHs, probiotic characteristics etc. will be determined. Resistance of LAB to different antibiotics will be tested by the disk diffusion method. Molecular identification of selected resistant isolates will be done by 16S rDNA sequencing and phylogenetic affiliation by BLAST tools. All resistant LAB will be PCR-tested for the respective resistance genes, applied to plasmid DNA isolation and PCR-analysed for 3 key tra genes, virD4 (coupling protein), virB4 (ATPase) and virB1 (lytic transglycosylase). Resistance transfer between LAB will be investigated by matings with GFP-labelled monitoring tools developed in the MISSEX project (link to MISSEX) and visualized by fluorescence microscopy.


This project is supported by the BMBF.

Zusatzinformationen / Extras

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Head of Chair

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ulrich Szewzyk
sec. BH 6-1
Room BH-N 604
Tel +49 30 314 73 461


Bärbel Minx
sec. BH 6-1
Room BH-N 603
Tel +49 30 314 73 460

Consultation hours:
Mon - Fri

Adress Chair of Environmental Microbiology

Environmental Microbiology
Institute of Environmental Technology
Faculty Faculty of Process Sciences
sec. BH 6-1
Ernst-Reuter-Platz 1
10587 Berlin
Tel +49 30 314 73 460
Fax +49 30 314 73 673