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Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Vol.
77, No. 13, 2011; Pages: 4344 - 4351

Genome Sequence of a Food Spoilage Lactic Acid Bacterium, Leuconostoc gasicomitatum LMG 18811T, in Association with Specific Spoilage Reactions

Per Johansson, Lars Paulin, Elina Säde, Noora Salovuori, Edward R. Alatalo, K. Johanna Björkroth and Petri Auvinen

Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Abstract

Leuconostoc gasicomitatum is a psychrotrophic lactic acid bacterium causing spoilage of cold-stored, modified-atmosphere-packaged (MAP), nutrient-rich foods. Its role has been verified by challenge tests in gas and slime formation, development of pungent acidic and buttery off odors, and greening of beef. MAP meats have especially been prone to L. gasicomitatum spoilage. In addition, spoilage of vacuum-packaged vegetable sausages and marinated herring has been reported. The genomic sequencing project of L. gasicomitatum LMG 18811T was prompted by a need to understand the growth and spoilage potentials of L. gasicomitatum, to study its phylogeny, and to be able to knock out and overexpress the genes. Comparative genomic analysis was done within L. gasicomitatum LMG 18811T and the three fully assembled Leuconostoc genomes (those of Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Leuconostoc citreum, and Leuconostoc kimchii) available. The genome of L. gasicomitatum LMG 18811T is plasmid-free and contains a 1,954,080-bp circular chromosome with an average GC content of 36.7%. It includes genes for the phosphoketolase pathway and alternative pathways for pyruvate utilization. As interesting features associated with the growth and spoilage potential, LMG 18811T possesses utilization strategies for ribose, external nucleotides, nucleosides, and nucleobases and it has a functional electron transport chain requiring only externally supplied heme for respiration. In respect of the documented specific spoilage reactions, the pathways/genes associated with a buttery off odor, meat greening, and slime formation were recognized. Unexpectedly, genes associated with platelet binding and collagen adhesion were detected, but their functionality and role in food spoilage and processing environment contamination need further study.

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