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Role of Nutrient Limitation in the Competition between Pseudomonas fluorescens and Escherichia coli O157:H7

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Competition between spoilage microorganisms and foodborne pathogens provides a potentially simple approach to limiting the growth of pathogens. A strain of Pseudomonas fluorescens isolated from raw milk repressed growth of Escherichia coli O157:H7 at 22°C in nutrient broth once the maximum population density of the pseudomonad had been reached (9.6 log CFU ml−1). The presence of iron in the growth medium and the parallel inhibitory effect of a siderophore-deficient mutant of P. fluorescens precluded iron limitation as the mechanism of action. Medium depleted by prior growth of P. fluorescens prevented the growth of E. coli, and this effect was reversed by the replenishment of the nutrient broth, its component fractions, or the addition of soy peptones but not peptones derived from milk protein. This is the first report of competition between spoilage microflora and foodborne pathogens in which the mechanism was clearly shown to be nutrient limitation. These results suggest possible improvements in biocontrol systems to prevent pathogen growth on foods.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Food Research Program, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 5C9

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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