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WG 6: Microbial interactions and microbial products that inhibit pathogens in the food chain

WG Leader: Kieran Jordan, TEAGASC, Ireland

Members: Dario de Medici, ISS, Italy; Lars Axelsson, NOFIMA, Norway; Hanne Ingmer, KU, Denmark; Geert Bruggeman, NS, Belgium; Estella Prukner-Radovic, VEF, Croatia; Jürgen Zentek, Anneluise Mader, FUB, Germany; John Wallace, UNIABDN, UK; Mindaugas Malakauskas, LVA, Lithuania.

Research topics for the future

Title: Techniques and technologies to limit pathogens by microbial interaction

in the food chain; There is pressure on the food industry to reduce costs and to increase shelf‐life, with less use of chemical preservatives and salt. With an increasing population having partly reduced immune system activity (i.e. children, elderly and immunocompromised persons), these conflicting requirements present a challenge. Using microbial interactions offers great opportunities to control pathogens along the food chain, and therefore improve food safety.

Title: Development of innovative functional feed ingredients, particularly probiotics and phytogenic substances and their synergistic applications to improve animal health and for the reduction of the use of antibiotics.; It is necessary for European agriculture to have efficient functional feed ingredients available. This will directly and indirectly contribute to improved food safety and security, resulting in safe feed for healthy food. The research can include all aspects of livestock productivity, for example, by developing specific nutritional concepts for typical European livestock such as pigs, poultry and cattle.

Title: Development of a diagnostic tool including new techniques and biomarkers to evaluate the health status of animals.; Animal health is closely linked to the health of humans. Safe feed enables the production of

healthy food under optimal conditions; there is a clear link between healthy animals and excellent food products. Due to the various factors that negatively affect animal health, it is imperative to develop new diagnostic techniques and rapid tools to detect suitable biomarkers for animal health. This will increase the sustainability and efficiency of food production under socially acceptable conditions.

FOODSEG topic: Title: Topic: Model to evaluate various factors in livestock production that can ensure better brand differentiation; The production of livestock in Europe needs new models to evaluate economic factors, social factors, and environmental factors, due to the fact that the consumer is interested to learn more about the products consumed. There is a lack of effective decision‐making tools that allow the farmers to evaluate the impact of certain production methods on economic, ecological and societal consequences by using a defined model. Data should be captured from the industry and from their barns: inputs, microbial status, productive results, welfare; provide a collaborative wiki website where the animal industry will enter data; and design preliminary mathematical models to fit these data for monogastric and ruminant animals.

Relevant publications by the group:

Title (and if available Link): Microbes versus microbes: control of pathogens in the food chain. Authors: Kieran Jordan, Marion Dalmasso, Juergen Zentek, Anneluise Mader, Geert Bruggeman, JohnWallace, Dario De Medici, Alfonsina Fiore, Estella Prukner-Radovcic, Maja Lukac, Lars Axelsson, Askild Holck, Hanne Ingmer and Mindaugas Malakauskas. Title/No. of periodical: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Year of publication: 2014

The article´s essential statements: Foodborne illness continues as a considerable threat to public health. Despite improved hygiene management systems and increased regulation, pathogenic bacteria still contaminate food, causing sporadic cases of illness and disease outbreaks worldwide. This review focuses on the potential opportunities presented, and the limitations, of using microbial antagonism as a biocontrol mechanism to reduce contamination along the food chain; including animal feed as its first link.

Title (and if available Link): ) Tn6188 - a novel transposon in Listeria monocytogenes responsible for tolerance to benzalkonium chloride,, Authors: Anneliese Muller, Kathrin Rychli, Meryem Muhterem-Uyar, Andreas Zaiser, Beatrix Stessl, Catriona Guinane, Paul Cotter, Martin Wagner, Stephan Schmitz-Esser, Title/No. of periodical: PlosONE Volume 8, Year of publication: October 2013 e76835

The article´s essential statements: Controlling the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes is of great importance from a food safety perspective, and thus for human health. The the molecular determinants and mechanisms of benzalkonium chloride (BC) tolerance of L. monocytogenes are still largely unknown. A novel transposon, Tn6188, conferring tolerance to BC is described in L. monocytogenes by means of a putative transcriptional regulator and QacH. Using quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR a significant increase in qacH expression in the presence of BC was seen. The results provide evidence that Tn6188 is responsible for BC tolerance in various L. monocytogenes strains.

Title (and if available Link): Transcriptomic analysis of Listeria monocytogenes exposed to benzethonium chloride reveals up-regulation of genes involved in peptidoglycan biosynthesis, motility, and carbohydrate uptake; Authors: Aidan Casey, Edward Fox, Stephan Schmitz-Esser, Aidan Casey, Olivia McAuliffe, and Kieran Jordan. Title/No. of periodical: Front Microbiol. Volume 5, page 68. Year of publication: 2014

The article´s essential statements: In this study, the transcriptomic response of a persistent strain of L. monocytogenes (strain 6179) on exposure to a sub-lethal concentration of the quaternary ammonium compound benzethonium chloride (BZT) was assessed. Using RNA-Seq, gene expression levels were quantified by sequencing the transcriptome of L. monocytogenes 6179 in the presence (4 ppm) and absence of BZT, and mapping each data set to the sequenced genome of strain 6179. Many biological processes such as peptidoglycan biosynthesis, bacterial chemotaxis and motility, and carbohydrate uptake, were involved in the response of L. monocyotogenes to the presence of BZT. This study demonstrates the importance of using the bacterium's own genome as a reference when analysing RNA-Seq data.

Book chapters:

Title: Biocontrol of Listeria monocytogenes in fresh produce. Authors: Kieran Jordan, Aidan Casey, Andreas Hoehl, Geert Bruggerman. Book title: Safety of Fresh Produce, Edited by Jeffrey Hoorfar, published by Woodhead Publishing 2013.

Title: Generation of non-polar deletion mutants in Listeria monocytogenes using the “SOEing” method, Authors: Anneliese Müller, Kathrin Rychli, Meryem Muhterem-Uyar, Andreas Zaiser, Beatrix Stessl, Caitriona M. Guinane, Paul D. Cotter, Martin Wagner and Stephan Schmitz-Esser. Book title: Methods in Molecular Biology – Listeria monocytogenes, edited by Kieran Jordan, published by Humana Press.

Title: Extraction and analysis of plasmid DNA from Listeria monocytogenes.

Authors: Aidan Casey and Olivia McAuliffe. Book title: Methods in Molecular Biology – Listeria monocytogenes, edited by Kieran Jordan, published by Humana Press.

Title: Reducing waste in fresh produce processing and households through use of by-products as animal feed. Authors: Jürgen Zentek, Fanny Knorr, Anneluise Mader. Book title: Safety of Fresh Produce, Edited by Jeffrey Hoorfar, published by Woodhead Publishing 2013.