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Pseudomonas fragi Strains Isolated from Meat Do Not Produce N-Acyl Homoserine Lactones as Signal Molecules

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Quorum sensing (QS) is a signalling mechanism through which bacteria cellular functions are modified to promote access to nutrients and more favorable environmental niches. The frequent occurrence of Pseudomonas spp. in fresh and spoiled meat may involve enhanced gene expression regulated by QS. Several Pseudomonas spp. produce different N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) signal molecules. Meat spoilage during aerobic, refrigerated storage is often associated with the presence of Pseudomonas fragi. As with other Pseudomonas species in natural habitats, the dominance and activities of P. fragi in meat may be regulated by QS. In this study, five biosensor strains were used to detect AHL production on three different media by 72 different P. fragi strains isolated from fresh and spoiled meat. Positive and negative AHL-producing strains were used to verify the assays. None of the strains produced detectable quantities of AHLs, even when concentrated cell-free culture supernatants were assayed, nor did exogenous lactones increase biofilm formation in P. fragi strains. However, all isolates produced furanosyl borate diesters (type II autoinducers; AI-2) when tested using the bioluminescent biosensor strain of Vibrio harveyi (BB170). The production of AI-2 was presumed to be of metabolic origin even though Pseudomonas spp. have not been shown to harbor the luxS gene. Thus, the efficient development of P. fragi in fresh meat is not regulated by an AHL-mediated QS system. The mechanism of AI-2 production and its possible role in spoilage dynamics needs further study.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, School of Agriculture, University of Naples Federico II, via Università 100, 80055 Portici, Italy 2: Department of Food Science, School of Biotechnological Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, via Università 100, 80055 Portici, Italy 3: Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1 4: Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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