UC Davis Food Science & Technology

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Maria L. Marco

Assistant Professor and Microbiologist


Ph. D. University of California, Berkeley, 2002


Professor Marco’s team is investigating the ecology and molecular genetics of beneficial bacteria associated with plant surfaces and mammalian digestive tracts. Organisms of particular interest in the Marco lab are Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) found in plant and gut environments. LAB are important for the production of (fermented) food products and specific strains are currently being applied as probiotics to deliver health benefits in the human gut. This lab aims to understand the molecular adaptations and activities of LAB in the context of the indigenous plant and gut microbiota to improve food production and maintain human health.

Selected Publications

  • Sybille Tachon, Bokyung Lee, and Maria L. Marco. 2013. Diet alters probiotic Lactobacillus persistence and function in the intestine. Environmental Microbiology. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12297.
  • Eun Bae Kim and Maria L Marco. 2013. Non-clinical and clinical Enterococcus faecium but not Enterococcus faecalis have distinct structural and functional genomic features. Applied Environmental Microbiology. doi: 10.1128/AEM.03108-13.
  • Anne-laure Moyne, Linda J. Harris, and Maria L. Marco. 2013. Assessments of total and viable Escherichia coli O157:H7 on field and laboratory grown lettuce. PloSOne. e70643.
  • Thomas Williams, Anne-laure Moyne, Linda J. Harris, and Maria L. Marco. 2013. Season, irrigation, leaf age, and Escherichia coli inoculation influence the bacterial diversity in the lettuce phyllosphere. PloSOne. e68642.
  • Maria L. Marco and Sybille Tachon. 2012. Environmental factors influencing the efficacy of probiotic bacteria. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 24(2):207-213.
  • Benjamin L. Golomb, Vanessa Morales, Alesia Jung, Bianca Yau, Kyria L. Boundy-Mills, and Maria L. Marco. 2012. Effects of pectinolytic yeast on the microbial composition and spoilage of olive fermentation. Food Microbiology. 33:97-106.
  • Sybille Tachon, June Zhou, Michael Keenan, Roy Martin, and Maria L. Marco. 2012. The intestinal microbiota in aged mice is modulated by dietary resistant starch and correlated to improvements in host responses. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 82(2):299-309.