Applied and Environmental Microbiology

The Research Publications track research that is published across national and international peer-reviewed journals. The most recent articles are available ahead of print and searchable by Journal Title, Subject, USDA Grant Funding Agencies or FDA Grant Funding Agencies. The research publications are tracked across five subject areas: Bacterial Pathogens, Chemical Contaminants, Natural Toxins, Parasites, and Viruses.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 03:33
Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale is a causative agent of respiratory tract infections in avian hosts worldwide but is a particular problem for commercial turkey production. Little is known about the ecologic and evolutionary dynamics of O. rhinotracheale, which makes prevention and control of this pathogen a challenge. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the genetic relationships...
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 03:33
Bacillus cereus sensu lato comprises Gram-positive spore-forming bacteria producing toxins associated with foodborne diseases. Three pore-forming enterotoxins, nonhemolytic enterotoxin (Nhe), hemolysin BL (Hbl), and cytotoxin K (CytK), are considered the primary factors in B. cereus sensu lato diarrhea. The aim of this study was to determine the potential risk of enterotoxicity among soil B....
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 03:33
Fusarium graminearum, the main pathogenic fungus causing Fusarium head blight (FHB), produces deoxynivalenol (DON), a key virulence factor, which is synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Sey1/atlastin, a dynamin-like GTPase protein, is known to be required for homotypic fusion of ER membranes, but the functions of this protein are unknown in pathogenic fungi. Here, we characterized Sey1/...
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 03:33
While only a subset of Vibrio cholerae strains are human diarrheal pathogens, all are aquatic organisms. In this environment, they often persist in close association with arthropods. In the intestinal lumen of the model arthropod Drosophila melanogaster, methionine and methionine sulfoxide decrease susceptibility to V. cholerae infection. In addition to its structural role in proteins, methionine...
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 03:33
The pathogen Listeria monocytogenes causes listeriosis, a severe foodborne disease associated with high mortality. Rapid and sensitive methods are required for specific detection of this pathogen during food production. Bioluminescence-based reporter bacteriophages are genetically engineered viruses that infect their host cells with high specificity and transduce a heterologous luciferase gene...
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 03:33
Microbial production of the neurotoxin methylmercury (MeHg) is a significant health and environmental concern, as it can bioaccumulate and biomagnify in the food web. A chalkophore or a copper-binding compound, termed methanobactin (MB), has been shown to form strong complexes with mercury [as Hg(II)] and also enables some methanotrophs to degrade MeHg. It is unknown, however, if Hg(II) binding...
Wed, 05/06/2020 - 03:35
Vibralactone, a hybrid compound derived from phenols and a prenyl group, is a strong pancreatic lipase inhibitor with a rare fused bicyclic β-lactone skeleton. Recently, a researcher reported a vibralactone derivative (compound C1) that caused inhibition of pancreatic lipase with a half-maximal inhibitory concentration of 14 nM determined by structure-based optimization, suggesting a...
Wed, 05/06/2020 - 03:35
Bacteria accumulate small, organic compounds called compatible solutes via uptake from the environment or biosynthesis from available precursors to maintain the turgor pressure of the cell in response to osmotic stress. The halophile Vibrio parahaemolyticus has biosynthesis pathways for the compatible solutes ectoine (encoded by ectABC-asp_ect) and glycine betaine (encoded by betIBA-proXWV), four...
Sun, 04/19/2020 - 03:31
Atmospheric cold plasma (ACP) treatment is an emerging food technology for product safety and quality retention, shelf-life extension, and sustainable processing. The activated chemical species of ACP can act rapidly against microorganisms without leaving chemical residues on food surfaces. The main objectives of this study were to investigate the efficiency and mechanisms of inactivation of...
Sun, 04/19/2020 - 03:31
Conjugation is one of the main mechanisms involved in the spread and maintenance of antibiotic resistance in bacterial populations. We recently showed that the emerging macrolide resistance in the soilborne equine and zoonotic pathogen Rhodococcus equi is conferred by the erm(46) gene carried on the 87-kb conjugative plasmid pRErm46. Here, we investigated the conjugal transferability of pRErm46...
Sun, 04/19/2020 - 03:31
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains are important zoonotic foodborne pathogens, causing diarrhea, hemorrhagic colitis, and life-threatening hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in humans. However, antibiotic treatment of STEC infection is associated with an increased risk of HUS. Therefore, there is an urgent need for early and effective therapeutic strategies. Here, we isolated...
Sun, 04/19/2020 - 03:31
This study was aimed at assessing whether the repeated exposure of 12 strains of Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli, and Listeria monocytogenes to alternative nonthermal decontamination techniques with UV light (UV-C) and nonthermal atmospheric plasma (NTAP) may cause the emergence of variants showing increased resistance to clinically relevant antibiotics (ampicillin, cefotaxime, ciprofloxacin,...
Sun, 04/19/2020 - 03:31
Campylobacter spp. have been recognized as major foodborne pathogens worldwide. An increasing frequency of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, including Campylobacter spp., have been identified to transmit from food products to humans and cause severe threats to public health. To better mitigate the antibiotic resistance crisis, rapid detection methods are required to provide timely antimicrobial...
Sun, 04/19/2020 - 03:31
The four regulatory genes fscR1 to fscR4 in Streptomyces sp. strain FR-008 form a genetic arrangement that is widely distributed in macrolide-producing bacteria. Our previous work has demonstrated that fscR1 and fscR4 are critical for production of the polyene antibiotic candicidin. In this study, we further characterized the roles of the other two regulatory genes, fscR2 and fscR3, focusing on...
Thu, 04/02/2020 - 03:22
This study examined the microbicidal activity of 222-nm UV radiation (UV222), which is potentially a safer alternative to the 254-nm UV radiation (UV254) that is often used for surface decontamination. Spores and/or growing and stationary-phase cells of Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus thuringiensis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Clostridioides difficile and a herpesvirus were all killed...
Thu, 04/02/2020 - 03:22
Nisin A is a bacteriocin produced by Lactococcus lactis and is widely used as a food preservative. Staphylococcus aureus has the BraRS-VraDE system that provides resistance against low concentrations of nisin A. BraRS is a two-component system that induces the expression of the ABC transporter VraDE. Previously, we isolated a highly nisin A-resistant strain with increased VraDE expression due to...
Thu, 04/02/2020 - 03:22
Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris MG1363 is a model for the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) used in the dairy industry. The proteolytic system, consisting of a proteinase, several peptide and amino acid uptake systems, and a host of intracellular peptidases, plays a vital role in nitrogen metabolism and is of eminent importance for flavor formation in dairy products. The dipeptidase PepV functions in...
Thu, 04/02/2020 - 03:22
There is a growing need for a highly stable system to allow the production of biologics for diagnoses and therapeutic interventions on demand that could be used in extreme environments. Among the variety of biologics, nanobodies (Nbs) derived from single-chain variable antibody fragments from camelids have attracted great attention in recent years due to their small size and great stability with...
Thu, 04/02/2020 - 03:22
Salmonella enterica is a foodborne pathogen often leading to gastroenteritis and is commonly acquired by consumption of contaminated food of animal origin. However, frequency of outbreaks linked to the consumption of fresh or minimally processed food of nonanimal origin is increasing. New infection routes of S. enterica by vegetables, fruits, nuts, and herbs have to be considered. This leads to...
Thu, 04/02/2020 - 03:22
In a structured survey of all major chicken-meat producers in Australia, we investigated the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and genomic characteristics of Campylobacter jejuni (n = 108) and C. coli (n = 96) from cecal samples of chickens at slaughter (n = 200). The majority of the C. jejuni (63%) and C. coli (86.5%) samples were susceptible to all antimicrobials. Fluoroquinolone resistance was...
Thu, 04/02/2020 - 03:22
The wastewater of livestock slaughterhouses is considered a source of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria with clinical relevance and may thus be important for their dissemination into the environment. To get an overview of their occurrence and characteristics, we investigated process water (n = 50) from delivery and unclean areas as well as wastewater (n = 32) from the in-house wastewater treatment...
Thu, 03/19/2020 - 03:23
In Norway, the use of quinolones in livestock populations is very low, and prophylactic use is prohibited. Despite this, quinolone-resistant Escherichia coli (QREC) isolates are present at low levels in several animal species. The source of these QREC isolates is unknown. The aim of this study was to characterize and compare QREC isolates from different animal species to identify putative factors...
Thu, 03/19/2020 - 03:23
Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica are leading causes of foodborne outbreaks linked to fresh produce. Both species can enter the "viable but nonculturable" (VBNC) state that precludes detection using conventional culture-based or molecular methods. In this study, we assessed propidium monoazide-quantitative PCR (PMA-qPCR) assays and novel methods combining PMA and loop-mediated...
Thu, 03/19/2020 - 03:23
Campylobacteriosis is the leading foodborne bacterial diarrheal illness in many countries, with up to 80% of human cases attributed to the avian reservoir. The only control strategies currently available are stringent on-farm biosecurity and carcass treatments. Heritable differences in the resistance of chicken lines to Campylobacter colonization have been reported and resistance-associated...
Thu, 03/19/2020 - 03:23
Klebsiella pneumoniae is of growing public health concern due to the emergence of strains that are multidrug resistant, virulent, or both. Taxonomically, the K. pneumoniae complex ("Kp") includes seven phylogroups, with Kp1 (K. pneumoniae sensu stricto) being medically prominent. Kp can be present in environmental sources such as soils and vegetation, which could act as reservoirs of animal and...
Thu, 03/19/2020 - 03:23
A prominent feature of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) is their ability to inhibit growth of spoilage organisms in food, but hitherto research efforts to establish the mechanisms underlying bioactivity focused on the production of antimicrobial compounds by LAB. We show, in this study, that competitive exclusion, i.e., competition for a limited resource by different organisms, is a major mechanism of...
Tue, 03/03/2020 - 03:32
Diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) is a major complication of diabetes with high morbidity and mortality rates. The pathogenesis of DFUs is governed by a complex milieu of environmental and host factors. The empirical treatment is initially based on wound severity since culturing and profiling the antibiotic sensitivity of wound-associated microbes is time-consuming. Hence, a thorough and rapid analysis...
Tue, 03/03/2020 - 03:32
Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is becoming the standard method for subtyping Listeria monocytogenes. Interpretation of WGS data for isolates from foods and associated environments is, however, challenging due to a lack of detailed data on Listeria evolution in processing facilities. Here, we used previously collected WGS data for 40 L. monocytogenes isolates obtained from a cold-smoked salmon...
Tue, 03/03/2020 - 03:32
Little is known about the public health risks associated with natural creek sediments that are affected by runoff and fecal pollution from agricultural and livestock practices. For instance, the persistence of foodborne pathogens such as Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) originating from these practices remains poorly quantified. Towards closing these knowledge gaps, the water-...
Tue, 03/03/2020 - 03:32
Changes with time of a population of Bacillus weihenstephanensis KBAB4 and Bacillus licheniformis AD978 dormant spores into germinated spores and vegetative cells were followed by flow cytometry, at pH ranges of 4.7 to 7.4 and temperatures of 10°C to 37°C for B. weihenstephanensis and 18°C to 59°C for B. licheniformis. Incubation conditions lower than optimal temperatures or pH...
Tue, 03/03/2020 - 03:32
Increasing evidence exists for the role that cattle play in the epidemiology of campylobacteriosis. In this study, the prevalence and distribution of Campylobacter jejuni were longitudinally examined at the subspecies level in the beef cattle production continuum. Animals were subdivided into two groups: those that were not administered antibiotics and those that were administered the...
Tue, 03/03/2020 - 03:32
Listeria monocytogenes causes the severe foodborne illness listeriosis and survives in food-associated environments due to its high stress tolerance. A data assembly and analysis protocol for microbial growth experiments was compiled to elucidate the strain variability of L. monocytogenes stress tolerance. The protocol includes measurement of growth ability under stress (step 1), selection of a...
Wed, 02/19/2020 - 03:28
Melanin is a pigment produced by organisms throughout all domains of life. Due to its unique physicochemical properties, biocompatibility, and biostability, there has been an increasing interest in the use of melanin for broad applications. In the vast majority of studies, melanin has been either chemically synthesized or isolated from animals, which has restricted its use to small-scale...
Wed, 02/19/2020 - 03:28
We compared the performance of four open-source in silico Salmonella typing tools (SeqSero, SeqSero2, Salmonella In Silico Typing Resource [SISTR], and Metric Oriented Sequence Typer [MOST]) to assess their potential for replacing laboratory serological testing with serovar predictions from whole-genome sequencing data. We conducted a retrospective analysis of 1,624 Salmonella isolates of 72...
Wed, 02/19/2020 - 03:28
Phenolic acids are among the most abundant phenolic compounds in edible parts of plants. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) metabolize phenolic acids, but the enzyme responsible for reducing hydroxycinnamic acids to phenylpropionic acids (HcrB) was only recently characterized in Lactobacillus plantarum. In this study, heterofermentative LAB species were screened for their hydroxycinnamic acid metabolism...
Wed, 02/19/2020 - 03:28
The putative methyltransferase LaeA is a global regulator of metabolic and development processes in filamentous fungi. We characterized the homologous laeA genes of the white koji fungus Aspergillus luchuensis mut. kawachii (A. kawachii) to determine their role in citric acid hyperproduction. The laeA strain exhibited a significant reduction in citric acid production. Cap analysis gene expression...
Wed, 02/19/2020 - 03:28
This study aimed at establishing the effects of attenuated starters and surface bacteria on various features of caciotta cheese. The cheese undergoes a ripening period during which the house microbiota contaminates the surface. Conventional cheese (the control cheese [CC]) is made using only primary starters. Primary starters and attenuated (i.e., unable to grow and synthesize lactic acid)...
Wed, 02/19/2020 - 03:28
As a novel nonthermal technology, nonthermal plasma (NTP) has attracted a lot of attention. However, it could induce microorganisms into a viable but nonculturable (VBNC) state, posing a potential risk to food safety and public health. In this study, the molecular mechanisms of VBNC Staphylococcus aureus induced by NTP were investigated. With the use of a propidium monoazide quantitative PCR (PMA...
Wed, 02/19/2020 - 03:28
In 2006, New Zealand had the highest notification rate of campylobacteriosis in the world, and poultry was considered the leading source of campylobacteriosis. Implementation of food safety interventions by the poultry industry led to a decrease in the campylobacteriosis notification rate. The aim is to examine the impact of targeted food safety interventions implemented by the New Zealand...
Wed, 02/19/2020 - 03:28
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has emerged over the last few decades as a One Health problem with an increasing prevalence in various animal species. The most notable animals are pigs, as asymptomatic carriers, and horses, where there is often an association with infections. The current study looked at the course of MRSA prevalence in Swiss livestock since 2009, with a special...
Tue, 02/04/2020 - 03:41
Prodigiosin, a secondary metabolite produced by Serratia marcescens, has attracted attention due to its immunosuppressive, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties. However, information on the regulatory mechanism behind prodigiosin biosynthesis in S. marcescens remains limited. In this work, a prodigiosin-hyperproducing strain with the BVG90_22495 gene disrupted (ZK66) was selected from a...
Tue, 02/04/2020 - 03:41
Enteric viruses are shed in fecal material by humans and other animals and are common contaminants in wastewater and surface water. Wastewater treatment plants often disinfect this effluent with low-pressure and medium-pressure UV lamps, which emit 254-nm and 220- to 280-nm irradiation, respectively. It is not known whether this treatment is efficacious against enteric viruses or how such...
Tue, 02/04/2020 - 03:41
Some chlorine-resistant Escherichia coli isolates harbor the locus of heat resistance (LHR), a genomic island conferring heat resistance. In this study, the protective effect of the LHR for cells challenged by chlorine and oxidative stress was quantified. Cloning of the LHR protected against NaClO (32 mM; 5 min), H2O2 (120 mM; 5 min), and peroxyacetic acid (105 mg/liter; 5 min) but not against 5....
Tue, 02/04/2020 - 03:41
The gut-lymph node axis is a critical player in the symbiotic relationship between gut microbiota and the host. However, little is known about the impact of diet-related bacterial shifts in the gut lumen on bacterial translocation into lymph nodes. Here, we (i) characterized changes in the viable microbiota composition along the ileal digesta-mucosa-lymph node axis and (ii) examined the effect of...
Wed, 01/22/2020 - 03:24
Salmonella enterica serovar Dublin is a cattle-adapted S. enterica serovar causing both intestinal and systemic infection in its bovine host, and it is also a serious threat to human health. The present study aimed to determine the population structure of S. Dublin isolates obtained from Danish cattle herds and to investigate how cattle isolates relate to Danish human isolates, as well as to non-...
Wed, 01/22/2020 - 03:24
Staphylococcus aureus infection poses a serious threat to public health, and antibiotic resistance has complicated the clinical treatment and limited the solutions available to solve this problem. Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) is a promising strategy for microorganism inactivation. However, the mechanisms of microbial inactivation or resistance remain unclear. In this study, we treated S. aureus...
Wed, 01/22/2020 - 03:24
Antibiotic resistance continues to be an emerging threat both in clinical and environmental settings. Among the many causes, the impact of postchlorinated human wastewater on antibiotic resistance has not been well studied. Our study compared antibiotic susceptibility among Aeromonas spp. in postchlorinated effluents to that of the recipient riverine populations for three consecutive years...
Wed, 01/22/2020 - 03:24
Alteromonas is a widely distributed genus of marine Gammaproteobacteria, with representatives shown to be key players in diverse processes, including biogeochemical cycling and biofouling of marine substrata. While Alteromonas spp. are early colonizers of copper-based antifouling paints on marine vessels, their mechanism of tolerance is poorly understood. PacBio whole-genome sequencing of...
Wed, 01/22/2020 - 03:24
Most clinical antibiotics are derived from actinomycete natural products discovered at least 60 years ago. However, the repeated rediscovery of known compounds led the pharmaceutical industry to largely discard microbial natural products (NPs) as a source of new chemical diversity. Recent advances in genome sequencing have revealed that these organisms have the potential to make many more NPs...
Wed, 01/22/2020 - 03:24
Current California agricultural practices strive to comanage food safety and habitat conservation on farmland. However, the ecology of foodborne pathogens in wild bird populations, especially those avian species residing in proximity to fresh produce production fields, is not fully understood. In this repeated cross-sectional study, avifauna within agricultural lands in California were sampled...

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