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Australasian Biotechnology (backfiles)
ISSN: 1036-7128
Vol. 12, No. 1, 2002, pp. 31-37
Bioline Code: au02008
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Australasian Biotechnology (backfiles), Vol. 12, No. 1, 2002, pp. 31-37

Charles M.A.P. Franz, Hikmate Abriouel and Wilhelm H. Holzapfel


Enterococci are lactic acid bacteria of importance in foods; they can spoil processed meats but are also important for the ripening and aroma development of certain Mediterranean cheeses and sausages. Enterococci have also been successfully used as human probiotics. However, they are also recognised as important nosocomial pathogens causing bacteraemia, endocarditis and other infections. Some strains are multiply antibiotic resistant, but antibiotic resistance alone cannot explain the virulence of some strains of these bacteria. Virulence factors such as production of adhesins, invasins, and hemolysin have now been described. The role of enterococci in disease has raised questions on their safety for use in foods or as probiotics. Recent studies on the incidence of virulence traits among food strains showed that some food isolates can also harbour such traits. Generally, E. faecalis appears to harbour more virulence traits than E. faecium and they occur at a greater incidence among E. faecalis strains. Regulation in Europe stipulates that safety of probiotic or starter strains is the responsibility of the producer; therefore, each strain intended for such use should be carefully evaluated.

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