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Huertas, JP;Alvarez-Ordonez, A;Morrissey, R;Ros-Chumillas, M;Esteban, MD;Mate, J;Palop, A;Hill, C
Food Research International
Heat resistance of Cronobacter sakazakii DPC 6529 and its behavior in reconstituted powdered infant formula
WOS: 17 ()
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Cronobacter sakazakii is an opportunistic pathogen in neonates which can cause meningitis, septicaemia and enterocofitis related to the consumption of contaminated Powdered Infant Formula (PIF). C. sakazakii has an unusual ability to survive under dry conditions and it could be among the most thermotolerant members of the Enterobacteriaceae. Little is known about how Cronobacter species respond to heat stress and the mechanisms involved in the process. In the current study we determined the heat resistance of a particularly stress tolerant C. sakazakii strain, C. sakazakii DPC 6529, and monitored the behavior of a lux-tagged derivative under different reconstitution and handling scenarios in a commercial brand of PIF. Some of the molecular mechanisms involved in the heat stress response were investigated using a transposon mutagenesis approach. Survival curves of C. sakazakii DPC 6529 in Luria-Bertani (LB) broth and PIF at various temperatures (58, 60, 62 and 64 degrees C) displayed an upward concavity and were fitted to the non-linear Weibull model. While at the highest treatment temperatures heat resistance was lower in PIF than in LB broth, at lower temperatures no significant differences in heat resistance were observed. Experiments in real time with artificially inoculated PIF reconstituted at different water temperatures (50, 55, 60, 65, 70 degrees C) and cooled at different rates confirmed that C. sakazakii can survive for long time periods in powdered formula, and is capable of proliferating after reconstitution. The use of water at temperatures between 50 and 65 degrees C for reconstitution did not provide a significant inactivation of C. sakazakii cells. Reconstitution at 70 degrees C reduced the bacterium to levels below the detection limit, although survivors were able to proliferate and reached dangerous levels when the reconstituted product was stored for a long time at room temperature. The cooling rate had an important impact on survival and subsequent growth of C. sakazakii, which makes it advisable to avoid rapid cooling of baby formula. Transposon mutagenesis allowed the identification of some of the molecular mechanisms involved in the response of C. sakazakii DPC6529 to heat stress. Genes identified included the Ribosome Maturation Protein RimP and Outer Membrane Porin L (OmpL). Results suggest that de novo protein synthesis, and the uptake of cysteine for the formation of disulfide bonds for protein stabilization, are key processes. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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