Current Microbiology

, Volume 76, Issue 5, pp 527–535 | Cite as

Microbial Diversity Profiling of Polysaccharide (gum)-Producing Bacteria Isolated from a South African Sugarcane Processing Factory

  • Sanet Nel
  • Stephen B. Davis
  • Akihito Endo
  • Leon M. T. DicksEmail author


Polysaccharide (gum)-producing bacteria are responsible for severe economic losses in the sugarcane processing industry. Increased polysaccharide levels in raw sugar are normally an indication that biodeterioration occurred in the cane, soon after harvesting. Once in the sugar processing plant, the cell numbers of gum-producing bacteria escalate and may reach levels difficult to control. We have isolated 430 gum-producing bacteria from sugarcane and different sampling points in a South African sugarcane processing factory. As expected, high cell numbers of gum-producing bacteria were isolated from the factory during a time when sugar with a high dextran content was produced. What we did not expect was to find the same species in the factory at a time when sugar with a low dextran content was produced. Phylogenetic analyses of the 16S rRNA gene sequences differentiated the gum-producing bacteria into four genera and nine species. The majority of these isolates belonged to the genus Weissella (47%), followed by members of Bacillus (24%), Leuconostoc (19%) and Lactobacillus (10%). For the first time, we report on the isolation of Weissella confusa, Weissella cibaria and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens from a sugarcane processing factory.



The authors acknowledge and thank Dr Deborah Sweby (South African Sugarcane Research Institute, Mt Edgecombe, South Africa) for the DNA sequencing analysis.

Supplementary material

284_2018_1625_MOESM1_ESM.docx (196 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 196 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sanet Nel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephen B. Davis
    • 1
  • Akihito Endo
    • 3
  • Leon M. T. Dicks
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Sugar Milling Research Institute NPCc/o University of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Food, Aroma and Cosmetic ChemistryTokyo University of AgricultureHokkaidoJapan

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