The vagina has been increasingly viewed as an "ecosystem" whose normal microflora help protect it from invading pathogens, including those that cause urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases. We tested new strains of lactobacilli as potential probiotics for maintenance of urogenital tract health, as well as prevention and therapy of urogenital infections. A strain of lactobacilli isolated from the vagina of nonpregnant, healthy, premenopausal women was identified as Lactobacillus rhamnosus L60 by 16S rDNA sequence homology. L60 was evaluated for antimicrobial activity, in vitro antibiotic resistance, autoaggregation, surface hydrophobicity, co-aggregation with other bacterial species, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production, and bacterial adherence. It displayed a wide spectrum of antimicrobial activity against urogenital pathogens, and resistance to antibiotics commonly prescribed for infections caused by these pathogens. L60 produced H2O2, adhered to vaginal epithelial cells, co-aggregated with Escherichia coli and Candida albicans, and displayed self-aggregation. In view of these characteristics, L60 is considered a potential probiotic, and will be further evaluated for preventive and therapeutic application locally in the vaginal tract.
A composting product of marine animal resources has been used as a fertilizer and a soil conditioner in Japan. This compost was produced by a repeated fed-batch fermentation system with three successive aerobic bioreactors. Composting temperature reached about 75°C without heating. The bacterial diversity in this compost was investigated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and sequence determination of the V3 region in the 16S rRNA genes. The sequence analysis showed that a majority of retrieved sequences corresponded to those of Bacillaceae, and we frequently found sequences similar to the 16S rDNA sequences of Bacillus thermocloacae and Bacillus thermoamylovorans. In addition, a bacterium antagonistic to a Fusarium strain was isolated from the compost. The isolate (Bacillus sp. NP-1) produced an antifungal compound, iturin A. These results suggest that this compost serves as a valuable source of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria including the antifungal bacteria.
Twenty-five Bacillus strains capable of producing γ-polyglutamic acid (PGA) were isolated from fermented locust bean products manufactured in the savanna area of Ghana. To clarify the phylogeny of these PGA-producing strains, phylogenetic analyses based on sequences of 16S rDNA, rpoB (RNA polymerase β-subunit) and fus (elongation factor G) genes were performed. A phylogenetic tree based on 16S rDNA indicated that ten isolates were clustered in the same group of Bacillus subtilis. Another ten isolates were located in the cluster of B. amyloliquefaciens, and the remaining isolates were identified as B. pumilus (three isolates) and B. licheniformis (two isolates), respectively. Phylogenetic trees based on the partial sequences of rpoB and fus genes were similar to the phylogeny based on 16S rDNA sequences. Thirty-four strains in 27 species belonging to the genus Bacillus and its neighbors were also investigated for PGA production. It was found that PGA was produced by B. amyloliquefaciens NBRC 14141 and NBRC 15535T, B. atrophaeus NBRC 15539T, B. licheniformis NBRC 12107, B. mojavensis NBRC 15718T, B. pumilus NBRC 12094, B. subtilis NBRC 16449, and Lysinibacillus sphaericus NBRC 3525. Except for L. sphaericus, the above Bacillus species are very closely related in phylogeny, indicating that PGA-producing Bacillus strains constitute a cluster.