Zhenjiang aromatic vinegar is one of the most famous Chinese traditional vinegars. In this study, change of the microbial community during its fermentation process was investigated. DGGE results showed that microbial community was comparatively stable, and the diversity has a disciplinary series of changes during the fermentation process. It was suggested that domestication of microbes and unique cycle-inoculation style used in the fermentation of Zhenjiang aromatic vinegar were responsible for comparatively stable of the microbial community. Furthermore, two clone libraries were constructed. The results showed that bacteria presented in the fermentation belonged to genus Lactobacillus, Acetobacter, Gluconacetobacter, Staphylococcus, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, Flavobacterium and Sinorhizobium, while the fungi were genus Saccharomyces. DGGE combined with clone library analysis was an effective and credible technique for analyzing the microbial community during the fermentation process of Zhenjiang aromatic vinegar. Real-time PCR results suggested that the biomass showed a "system microbes self-domestication" process in the first 5 days, then reached a higher level at the 7th day before gradually decreasing until the fermentation ended at the 20th day. This is the first report to study the changes of microbial community during fermentation process of Chinese traditional solid-state fermentation of vinegar.
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