To investigate basic characteristics of 10 virulent phages active on silage-making lactobacilli, morphological properties, host ranges, protein composition and genome characterization were separated into five groups based on host ranges and basic properties. The seven phages of groups I, II and V were active on Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus pentosus. Phage φPY4 (group III) infected both L. casei and Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Phage φPY5 (group IV) specifically infected Lactobacillus casei. Morphologically, three phages of groups I belonged to the Myoviridae family, while seven other phages of groups II, III and V belonged to the Siphoviridae family. SDS-PAGE profiles, restriction analysis, G+C contents of DNA and Dot blot hybridization revealed a high degree of homology in each group. Clustering derived from host range analysis was closely related to results of DNA and protein analyses. These phages may be applicable to phage typing for silage-making lactobacilli.
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