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Open Access Research article

Isolation of deoxynivalenol-transforming bacteria from the chicken intestines using the approach of PCR-DGGE guided microbial selection

Hai Yu1, Ting Zhou1*, Jianhua Gong1*, Christopher Young1, Xiaojun Su12, Xiu-Zhen Li1, Honghui Zhu1, Rong Tsao1 and Raymond Yang1

Author affiliations

1 Guelph Food Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 93 Stone Road West, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 5C9, Canada

2 Key Laboratory for Crop Germplasm Innovation and Utilization of Hunan Province, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha, 410128, China

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Citation and License

BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:182  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-182

Published: 24 June 2010



Contamination of grains with trichothecene mycotoxins, especially deoxynivalenol (DON), has been an ongoing problem for Canada and many other countries. Mycotoxin contamination creates food safety risks, reduces grain market values, threatens livestock industries, and limits agricultural produce exports. DON is a secondary metabolite produced by some Fusarium species of fungi. To date, there is a lack of effective and economical methods to significantly reduce the levels of trichothecene mycotoxins in food and feed, including the efforts to breed Fusarium pathogen-resistant crops and chemical/physical treatments to remove the mycotoxins. Biological approaches, such as the use of microorganisms to convert the toxins to non- or less toxic compounds, have become a preferred choice recently due to their high specificity, efficacy, and environmental soundness. However, such approaches are often limited by the availability of microbial agents with the ability to detoxify the mycotoxins. In the present study, an approach with PCR-DGGE guided microbial selection was developed and used to isolate DON -transforming bacteria from chicken intestines, which resulted in the successful isolation of several bacterial isolates that demonstrated the function to transform DON to its de-epoxy form, deepoxy-4-deoxynivalenol (DOM-1), a product much less toxic than DON.


The use of conventional microbiological selection strategies guided by PCR-DGGE (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) bacterial profiles for isolating DON-transforming bacteria has significantly increased the efficiency of the bacterial selection. Ten isolates were identified and isolated from chicken intestines. They were all able to transform DON to DOM-1. Most isolates were potent in transforming DON and the activity was stable during subculturing. Sequence data of partial 16S rRNA genes indicate that the ten isolates belong to four different bacterial groups, Clostridiales, Anaerofilum, Collinsella, and Bacillus.


The approach with PCR-DGGE guided microbial selection was effective in isolating DON-transforming bacteria and the obtained bacterial isolates were able to transform DON.