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International Journal of Food Microbiology
Vol. 199, 2015, Pages: 4146

Exploring the strain-specific attachment of Leuconostoc gelidum subsp. gasicomitatum on food contact surfaces

Vasileios Pothakos, Yosi Ayu Aulia, Inge Van der Linden, Mieke Uyttendaele, Frank Devlieghere

Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Member of Food2Know, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Gent, Belgium.

Abstract

The psychrotrophic lactic acid bacterium (LAB) Leuconostoc gelidum subsp. gasicomitatum has emerged as one of the most prevalent specific spoilage organisms (SSOs) of packaged, cold-stored food products in Northern Europe. The whole genome sequencing of the type strain L. gelidum subsp. gasicomitatum LMG 18811T revealed genes encoding for proteins related to adhesion. In the present study the attachment of six food and environmental isolates was monitored on stainless steel (SS) and glass surfaces incubated (7 °C for 5–9 days) in two food simulating substrates (i.e. sweet bell pepper juice and boiled eggs in brine). The selection encompassed unique genotypes, isolated from different food products or sampling sites as well as slime-forming biotypes. The evaluation of the attached cells was performed with the bead vortexing method and a viability staining assay coupled with epifluorescence microscopy. On SS surfaces the slime-formers showed the lowest attachment (3.3–4.5 log CFU/cm2), while strain L. gelidum subsp. gasicomitatum ab2, which was isolated from an acetic acid bath in a vegetable salad company, reached significantly higher populations of attached cells exceeding 7 log CFU/cm2. Strain ab2 formed dense cell aggregations on SS after 9 days of incubation in sweet bell pepper juice. The attachment ability of L. gelidum subsp. gasicomitatum on surfaces documented in the present study extends our knowledge and understanding of the spoilage potential and intra-subspecies diversity of this microbe.

Keywords: Leuconostoc gelidum subsp. gasicomitatum; Attachment; Intra-subspecies diversity; Food contact surface; Putative biofilm formation.

 
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