Characterization of a Listeria monocytogenes Scott A isolate with high tolerance towards high hydrostatic pressure

K.A.G. Karatzas, M.H. Bennik

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    An isolate of L. monocytogenes Scott A that is tolerant to high hydrostatic pressure (HHP), named AK01, was isolated upon a single pressurization treatment of 400 MPa for 20 min and was further characterized. The survival of exponential- and stationary-phase cells of AK01 in ACES [N-(2-acetamido)-2-aminoethanesulfonic acid] buffer was at least 2 log units higher than that of the wild type over a broad range of pressures (150 to 500 MPa), while both strains showed higher HHP tolerance (piezotolerance) in the stationary than in the exponential phase of growth. In semiskim milk, exponential-phase cells of both strains showed lower reductions upon pressurization than in buffer, but again, AK01 was more piezotolerant than the wild type. The piezotolerance of AK01 was retained for at least 40 generations in rich medium, suggesting a stable phenotype. Interestingly, cells of AK01 lacked flagella, were elongated, and showed slightly lower maximum specific growth rates than the wild type at 8, 22, and 30°C. Moreover, the piezotolerant strain AK01 showed increased resistance to heat, acid, and H2O2 compared with the wild type. The difference in HHP tolerance between the piezotolerant strain and the wild-type strain could not be attributed to differences in membrane fluidity, since strain AK01 and the wild type had identical in situ lipid melting curves as determined by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The demonstrated occurrence of a piezotolerant isolate of L. monocytogenes underscores the need to further investigate the mechanisms underlying HHP resistance of food-borne microorganisms, which in turn will contribute to the appropriate design of safe, accurate, and feasible HHP treatments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3183-3189
    JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

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