Production of acylated homoserine lactones by psychrotrophic members of the Enterobacteriaceae isolated from foods

Lone Gram, A.B. Christensen, Lars Flodgaard, Søren Molin, Michael Christian Givskov

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Abstract

Bacteria are able to communicate and gene regulation can be mediated through the production of acylated homoserine lactone (AHL) signal molecules. These signals play important roles in several pathogenic and symbiotic bacteria. The following study was undertaken to investigate whether AHLs are produced by bacteria found in food at temperatures and NaCl conditions commercially used for food preservation and storage. A minimum of 116 of 154 psychrotrophic Enterobacteriaceae strains isolated from cold-smoked salmon or vacuum-packed chilled meat produced AHLs. Analysis by thin-layer chromatography indicated that N-3-oxohexanoyl homoserine lactone was the major AHL of several of the strains isolated from cold-smoked salmon and meat. AHL-positive strains cultured at 5 degrees C in medium supplemented with 4% NaCl produced detectable amounts of AHL(s) at cell densities of 10(6) CFU/ml. AHLs were detected in cold- smoked salmon inoculated with strains of Enterobacteriaceae stored at 5 degrees C under an N-2 atmosphere when mean cell densities increased to 10(6) CFU/g and above. Similarly, AHLs were detected in uninoculated samples of commercially produced cold-smoked salmon when the level of indigenous Enterobacteriaceae reached 106 CFU/g. This level of Enterobacteriaceae is often found in lightly preserved foods, and AHL-mediated gene regulation may play a role in bacteria associated with food spoilage or food toxicity
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume65
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)3458-3463
ISSN0099-2240
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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