Characterization and emended description of lactobacillus kunkeei as a fructophilic lactic acid bacterium
Lactobacillus kunkeei is an inhabitant of fructose-rich niches and is a potential member of the fructophilic lactic acid bacteria. In the present study, the phylogenetic and biochemical characteristics of the type strain and eight isolates of L. kunkeei, originating from wine, flowers and honey, were studied. The nine isolates, including the type strain, formed a well-defined phylogenetic subcluster based on the analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences. The subcluster was not closely related to other subclusters in the Lactobacillus phylogenetic group. Biochemically, the eight new isolates showed typical fructophilic characteristics. The eight isolates grew poorly on glucose, but grew well on fructose. Good growth on glucose was only recorded in the presence of electron acceptors. The type strain of L. kunkeei differed from the other isolates only on the basis of poor growth on fructose. Although they belong to a group of obligately heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria, all nine isolates, including the type strain, produced almost equimolar amounts of lactic acid and acetic acid and very little ethanol from glucose. Eight of the isolates can thus be regarded as typical 'obligately' fructophilic lactic acid bacteria. Although the type strain of L. kunkeei was phenotypically slightly different from the other isolates, it possessed several important fructophilic characteristics. On the basis of the evidence gathered in this study, the type strain of L. kunkeei is recognized as a member of the 'obligately' fructophilic lactic acid bacteria. © 2012 IUMS.