Lacticaseibacillus zeae strains, isolated from raw milk and fermented dairy products, are closely related to the Lacticaseibacillus species that has beneficial probiotic properties. However, it is difficult to distinguish those using conventional methods. In this study, a unique gene was revealed to differentiate L. zeae from other strains of the Lacticaseibacillus species and other species by pan-genome analysis, and a real-time PCR method was developed to rapidly and accurately detect the unique gene. The genome analysis of 141 genomes yielded an 17,978 pan-genome. Among them, 18 accessory genes were specifically present in five genomes of L. zeae. The glycosyltransferase family 8 was identified as a unique gene present only in L. zeae and not in 136 other genomes. A primer designed from the unique gene accurately distinguished L. zeae in pure and mixed DNA and successfully constructed the criterion for the quantified standard curve in real-time PCR. The real-time...

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