Chinese- and Japanese-type fermented soy sauces are made of different plant materials. The lactic acid bacterium Tetragenococcus halophila is present and grows in both types. On the basis of the difference in sugar composition and content in the plant materials, differences in the populations of T. halophila bacteria were expected. However, obvious differences were found only regarding the utilization of l-arabinose. In the Chinese type, almost all isolates utilized l-arabinose, while in the Japanese type only 40% of the isolates did. Also, the population in the Japanese type was more heterogeneous regarding substrate utilization. Random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis revealed that the heterogeneous population at the Japanese-type industrial manufacturer was derived from only three strains at maximum. Genetic relatedness among isolates from different soy sauce manufacturers was low, but protein fingerprinting indicated that the isolates still belonged to one species
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