Risk Identification, Rapid Detection, Prevention and Control of Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Microbiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 January 2024) | Viewed by 13224

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Guest Editor
College of Food Science and Engineering, Tianjin University of Science and Technology, Tianjin, China
Interests: food quality and safety; detection of foodborne pathogens; control of foodborne pathogenic microorganisms

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Foodborne pathogenic microorganisms, as the culprits of various food borne diseases, can be found in natural environment such as water, soil, air and in food chain and manufacturing process of food products. The pathogenic microorganisms found in food contamination include bacteria, yeasts, molds, and viruses, which can cause food spoilage resulting in foodborne illnesses such as stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and even fatality. Foodborne illnesses have become more common over time, posing a major threat to human health around the world. Therefore, it is necessary to study risk identification, rapid detection, prevention and control of foodborne pathogenic microorganisms.

Based on the increasing consumer demand for healthy and safe, it would be interesting to report the latest research on the risk identification, detection, prevention and control of foodborne pathogenic microorganisms. The Special Issue of the journal Foods aims to establish a collection of recent research on “Risk Identification, Rapid Detection, Prevention and Control of Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms”. We cordially invite scientists, researchers, and other food professionals to submit the original reviews/research articles related to this special issue.

Prof. Dr. Xinjun Du
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • foodborne pathogenic microorganisms
  • biosensors
  • detection
  • risk assessment
  • prevention
  • control
  • food safety

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

16 pages, 831 KiB  
Article
Development of a Sensitive and Specific Quantitative RT-qPCR Method for the Detection of Hepatitis E Virus Genotype 3 in Porcine Liver and Foodstuff
by Jan Bernd Hinrichs, Antonia Kreitlow, Madeleine Plötz, Ulrich Schotte, Paul Becher, Nele Gremmel, Roger Stephan, Nicole Kemper and Amir Abdulmawjood
Foods 2024, 13(3), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13030467 - 1 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 991
Abstract
As an international and zoonotic cause of hepatitis, hepatitis E virus (HEV) poses a significant risk to public health. However, the frequency of occurrence and the degree of contamination of food of animal origin require further research. The aim of this study was [...] Read more.
As an international and zoonotic cause of hepatitis, hepatitis E virus (HEV) poses a significant risk to public health. However, the frequency of occurrence and the degree of contamination of food of animal origin require further research. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a highly sensitive quantitative RT-qPCR assay for the detection and quantification of HEV contamination in porcine liver and food. The focus was on genotype 3, which is most common as a food contaminant in developed countries and Europe. The selected assay has its target sequence in the open reading frame 1 (ORF1) of the HEV genome and showed good results in inclusivity testing, especially for HEV genotype 3. The developed assay seems to show high efficiency and a low intercept when compared to other assays, while having a comparable limit of detection (LOD). In addition, a standard curve was generated using artificially spiked liver to provide more accurate quantitative results for contamination assessment and tracking in this matrix. Application of the assay to test 67 pig livers from different origins resulted in a positivity rate of 7.5%, which is consistent with the results of numerous other prevalence studies. Quantitative detection of the viral genome in the food chain, particularly in pig livers, is essential for understanding the presence and evolution of HEV contamination and thus ensures consumer safety. Full article
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11 pages, 1790 KiB  
Article
Spatial Distribution and Enrichment Dynamics of Foodborne Norovirus in Oyster Tissues
by Mao Mao, Zilei Zhang, Xuchong Zhao, Haoran Geng, Liang Xue and Danlei Liu
Foods 2024, 13(1), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13010128 - 29 Dec 2023
Viewed by 795
Abstract
The prevalence of norovirus in oysters poses a significant threat to food safety, necessitating a comprehensive understanding of contamination patterns. This study explores the temporal dynamics of norovirus distribution in various oyster tissues over a contamination period ranging from 6 to 96 h. [...] Read more.
The prevalence of norovirus in oysters poses a significant threat to food safety, necessitating a comprehensive understanding of contamination patterns. This study explores the temporal dynamics of norovirus distribution in various oyster tissues over a contamination period ranging from 6 to 96 h. Four tissues—the gill, palp, digestive gland, and stomach—were subjected to systematic monitoring using RT-qPCR for absolute quantification. Results revealed rapid norovirus detection in all tissues six hours post-contamination, with subsequent variations in detection rates. Gill and digestive gland tissues exhibited a peak in detection at 12–24 h, aligning with the oyster’s gastrointestinal circulatory system. The digestive gland, distinguished by specific enrichment and adsorption capabilities, demonstrated the highest virus concentration at 48 h. In contrast, the stomach displayed a reemergence of norovirus. Beyond 72 h, detection remained exclusive to the digestive gland, with Ct values comparable to earlier time points. At 96 h, a limited amount of norovirus was detected in the digestive gland, emphasizing the importance for timely monitoring. In addition to providing critical insights into optimal detection strategies, these findings highlight the time-related characteristics of norovirus contamination in oysters. The study identifies the digestive gland as a key target for reliable monitoring, providing valuable data to improve protocols for reducing hazards associated with oyster consumption and foodborne norovirus infections. This research contributes to the understanding of norovirus dynamics in oyster tissues and reinforces current efforts aimed at ensuring food safety and public health. Full article
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12 pages, 2819 KiB  
Article
Detection of Vibrio parahaemolyticus Based on Magnetic and Upconversion Nanoparticles Combined with Aptamers
by Xinjie Song, Wei Li, Li Wu, Tianfeng Lv, Yao Zhang, Juan Sun, Xuping Shentu, Xiaoping Yu and Yuanfeng Wu
Foods 2023, 12(24), 4433; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12244433 - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1075
Abstract
Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a halophilic and heat-labile gram-negative bacterium and is the most prevalent foodborne bacterium in seafood. In order to develop a rapid and sensitive method for detecting the foodborne pathogenic bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus, an aptamer-modified magnetic nanoparticle and an aptamer-modified [...] Read more.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a halophilic and heat-labile gram-negative bacterium and is the most prevalent foodborne bacterium in seafood. In order to develop a rapid and sensitive method for detecting the foodborne pathogenic bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus, an aptamer-modified magnetic nanoparticle and an aptamer-modified upconversion nanoparticle were synthesised and used as a capture probe and a signal probe, respectively. The aptamer-modified magnetic nanoparticle, V. parahaemolyticus cell, and aptamer-modified upconversion nanoparticle formed a sandwich-like complex, which was rapidly separated from a complex matrix using a magnetic force, and the bacterial concentration was determined by fluorescence intensity analysis. The results showed that the fluorescence intensity signal correlated positively with the concentration of V. parahaemolyticus in the range of 3.2 × 102 to 3.2 × 105 CFU/mL, with a linear equation of y = 296.40x − 217.67 and a correlation coefficient of R2 = 0.9610. The detection limit of the developed method was 4.4 CFU/mL. There was no cross-reactivity with other tested foodborne pathogens. This method is highly specific and sensitive for the detection of V. parahaemolyticus, and can achieve the qualitative detection of this bacterium in a complex matrix. Full article
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10 pages, 291 KiB  
Article
The Genotyping Diversity and Hemolytic Activity of Cronobacter spp. Isolated from Plant-Based Food Products in Poland
by Monika Garbowska, Anna Berthold-Pluta, Lidia Stasiak-Różańska, Antoni Pluta, Stephen Forsythe and Ilona Stefańska
Foods 2023, 12(20), 3873; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12203873 - 23 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1086
Abstract
The present study aimed to determine the genotyping diversity and hemolytic properties of 24 strains of Cronobacter spp. (15 Cronobacter sakazakii, 6 Cronobacter malonaticus, 2 Cronobacter turicensis, and 1 Cronobacter condimenti) isolated from commercial ready-to-eat leaf vegetables, sprouts, nuts, [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to determine the genotyping diversity and hemolytic properties of 24 strains of Cronobacter spp. (15 Cronobacter sakazakii, 6 Cronobacter malonaticus, 2 Cronobacter turicensis, and 1 Cronobacter condimenti) isolated from commercial ready-to-eat leaf vegetables, sprouts, nuts, and dried fruits. The multilocus sequence typing (MLST) method was used to determine the sequence types (ST) and clonal complexes (CC) of these strains. The study demonstrated the high genotypic diversity of the Cronobacter genus bacteria isolated from plant-based foods. Five novel sequence types (804, 805, 806, 807, and 808) and the presence of novel alleles in the ppsA, gltB, gyrB, and infB loci were detected. In total, 16 of the 24 strains were assigned to the sequence types ST99, ST258, ST17, ST648, ST21, ST494, and ST98. One C. sakazakii strain (s12) isolated from alfalfa sprouts was assigned to the clonal complex CC4, which encompasses strains often associated with severe infections leading to meningitis in infants. In addition, 87.5% and 16.7% of the Cronobacter spp. strains showed β-hemolysis of equine and sheep red blood cells, respectively. The presence of the pathogenic species C. sakazakii, C. malonaticus, and C. turicensis in ready-to-eat plant-derived food products shows they are potential sources of infection, especially to those with compromised immunity, which substantiates their further multi-faceted characterization. The significance of this study may prove useful not only in epidemiological investigations, but also in assessing the risk of infections caused by the presence of Cronobacter. Full article
16 pages, 14992 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Molecular Chaperone GroEL as a Potential Virulence Factor in Cronobacter sakazakii
by Dongdong Zhu, Yufei Fan, Xiaoyi Wang, Ping Li, Yaping Huang, Jingbo Jiao, Chumin Zhao, Yue Li, Shuo Wang and Xinjun Du
Foods 2023, 12(18), 3404; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12183404 - 12 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1176
Abstract
The molecular chaperone GroEL of C. sakazakii, a highly conserved protein encoded by the gene grol, has the basic function of responding to heat shock, thus enhancing the bacterium’s adaptation to dry and high-temperature environments, which poses a threat to food [...] Read more.
The molecular chaperone GroEL of C. sakazakii, a highly conserved protein encoded by the gene grol, has the basic function of responding to heat shock, thus enhancing the bacterium’s adaptation to dry and high-temperature environments, which poses a threat to food safety and human health. Our previous study demonstrated that GroEL was found in the bacterial membrane fraction and caused a strong immune response in C. sakazakii. In this study, we tried to elucidate the subcellular location and virulent effects of GroEL. In live C. sakazakii cells, GroEL existed in both the soluble and insoluble fractions. To study the secretory mechanism of GroEL protein, a non-reduced Western immunoblot was used to analyze the form of the protein, and the result showed that the exported GroEL protein was mainly in monomeric form. The exported GroEL could also be located on bacterial surface. To further research the virulent effect of C. sakazakii GroEL, an indirect immunofluorescence assay was used to detect the adhesion of recombinant GroEL protein to HCT-8 cells. The results indicated that the recombinant GroEL protein could adhere to HCT-8 cells in a short period of time. The recombinant GroEL protein could activate the NF-κB signaling pathway to release more pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-8), downregulating the expression of tight-junction proteins (claudin-1, occluding, ZO-1 and ZO-2), which collectively resulted in dose-dependent virulent effects on host cells. Inhibition of the grol gene expression resulted in a significant decrease in bacterial adhesion to and invasion of HCT-8 cells. Moreover, the deficient GroEL also caused slow growth, decreased biofilm formation, defective motility and abnormal filamentation of the bacteria. In brief, C. sakazakii GroEL was an important virulence factor. This protein was not only crucial for the physiological activity of C. sakazakii but could also be secreted to enhance the bacterium’s adhesion and invasion capabilities. Full article
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13 pages, 3212 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Hygiene Practice for Reducing Campylobacter Contamination on Cutting Boards and Risks Associated with Chicken Handling in Kitchen Environment
by Honggang Lai, Yuanyue Tang, Fangzhe Ren, Xin-an Jiao and Jinlin Huang
Foods 2023, 12(17), 3245; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12173245 - 29 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1113
Abstract
Cutting boards can serve as potential carriers for the cross-contamination of pathogens from chicken to other surfaces. This study aimed to assess chefs’ handling practices of cutting boards across five provinces in China and identify the key factors contributing to unsafe cutting board [...] Read more.
Cutting boards can serve as potential carriers for the cross-contamination of pathogens from chicken to other surfaces. This study aimed to assess chefs’ handling practices of cutting boards across five provinces in China and identify the key factors contributing to unsafe cutting board usage, including cleaning methods and handling practices. Handling practices associated with cutting boards were examined through a web-based survey (N = 154), while kitchen environment tests were conducted to investigate the splashing or survival of Campylobacter, inoculated in chicken or on cutting boards, to mimic the practices of chefs. Among chefs in the five provinces of China, wood and plastic cutting boards were the most commonly used for preparing chicken meat. Approximately 33.7% of chefs washed boards with running tap water, 31.17% of chefs washed boards with detergent, and 24.03% of chefs cleaned boards by scraping them with a knife after preparing other meats or chicken. The study tested 23 cutting boards from commercial kitchens for Campylobacter presence before and after chicken preparation and cleaning. Among these, 17 were cleaned with a knife, 5 with running tap water, and only 1 with disinfectant. Results showed that cleaning with a knife significantly reduced Campylobacter presence on cutting boards (p < 0.05), while the three main cleaning methods were inadequate in eliminating contamination to a safe level. In kitchen environment tests, contaminated chicken was chopped on cutting boards, with a maximum distance of 60 cm for low contamination, and 120 cm for medium and high contamination levels. This suggested a contamination risk exposure area ranging from 60 cm to 120 cm. Campylobacter survival on surfaces of wood, plastic, and stainless steel was also tested, with plastic surfaces showing the longest survival time (4.5 h at 15 °C and 3.5 h at 25 °C) In comparison, survival time on stainless steel or wood surfaces was only 3 h, implying a cross-contamination risk exposure period of 3 to 4.5 h after chicken preparation. In conclusion, based on the current study data, the practices employed by chefs play an important role in Campylobacter transfer in the kitchen environment. The presence of Campylobacter on cutting boards even after wiping or droplet splashing highlights its potential as a source of cross-contamination in the kitchen environment. So, chefs in China should reinforce their hygiene culture and adopt effective cutting board cleaning practices to prevent pathogen contamination. Full article
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17 pages, 4252 KiB  
Article
Effects of ESA_00986 Gene on Adhesion/Invasion and Virulence of Cronobacter sakazakii and Its Molecular Mechanism
by Yufei Fan, Ping Li, Dongdong Zhu, Chumin Zhao, Jingbo Jiao, Xuemeng Ji and Xinjun Du
Foods 2023, 12(13), 2572; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12132572 - 30 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1013
Abstract
Cronobacter sakazakii is an opportunistic Gram-negative pathogen that has been identified as a causative agent of severe foodborne infections with a higher risk of mortality in neonates, premature infants, the elderly, and immunocompromised populations. The specific pathogenesis mechanisms of C. sakazakii, such [...] Read more.
Cronobacter sakazakii is an opportunistic Gram-negative pathogen that has been identified as a causative agent of severe foodborne infections with a higher risk of mortality in neonates, premature infants, the elderly, and immunocompromised populations. The specific pathogenesis mechanisms of C. sakazakii, such as adhesion and colonization, remain unclear. Previously, we conducted comparative proteomic studies on the two strains with the stronger and weaker infection ability, respectively, and found an interesting protein, ESA_00986, which was more highly expressed in the strain with the stronger ability. This unknown protein, predicted to be a type of invasitin related to invasion, may be a critical factor contributing to its virulence. This study aimed to elucidate the precise roles of the ESA_00986 gene in C. sakazakii by generating gene knockout mutants and complementary strains. The mutant and complementary strains were assessed for their biofilm formation, mobility, cell adhesion and invasion, and virulence in a rat model. Compared with the wild-type strain, the mutant strain exhibited a decrease in motility, whereas the complementary strain showed comparable motility to the wild-type. The biofilm-forming ability of the mutant was weakened, and the mutant also exhibited attenuated adhesion to/invasion of intestinal epithelial cells (HCT-8, HICE-6) and virulence in a rat model. This indicated that ESA_00986 plays a positive role in adhesion/invasion and virulence. This study proves that the ESA_00986 gene encodes a novel virulence factor and advances our understanding of the pathogenic mechanism of C. sakazakii. Full article
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17 pages, 2334 KiB  
Article
Growth and Non-Thermal Inactivation of Staphylococcus aureus in Sliced Dry-Cured Ham in Relation to Water Activity, Packaging Type and Storage Temperature
by Anna Austrich-Comas, Cristina Serra-Castelló, Maria Viella, Pere Gou, Anna Jofré and Sara Bover-Cid
Foods 2023, 12(11), 2199; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12112199 - 30 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1624
Abstract
Dry-cured ham (DCH) could support the growth of Staphylococcus aureus as a halotolerant bacterium, which may compromise the shelf-stability of the product according to the growth/no growth boundary models and the physicochemical parameters of commercial DCH. In the present study, the behavior of [...] Read more.
Dry-cured ham (DCH) could support the growth of Staphylococcus aureus as a halotolerant bacterium, which may compromise the shelf-stability of the product according to the growth/no growth boundary models and the physicochemical parameters of commercial DCH. In the present study, the behavior of S. aureus is evaluated in sliced DCH with different water activity (aw 0.861–0.925), packaged under air, vacuum, or modified atmosphere (MAP), and stored at different temperatures (2–25 °C) for up to 1 year. The Logistic and the Weibull models were fitted to data to estimate the primary kinetic parameters for the pathogen Log10 increase and Log10 reduction, respectively. Then, polynomial models were developed as secondary models following their integration into the primary Weibull model to obtain a global model for each packaging. Growth was observed for samples with the highest aw stored at 20 and 25 °C in air-packaged DCH. For lower aw, progressive inactivation of S. aureus was observed, being faster at the lowest temperature (15 °C) for air-packaged DCH. In contrast, for vacuum and MAP-packaged DCH, a higher storage temperature resulted in faster inactivation without a significant effect of the product aw. The results of this study clearly indicate that the behavior of S. aureus is highly dependent on factors such as storage temperature, packaging conditions and product aw. The developed models provide a management tool for evaluating the risk associated with DCH and for preventing the development of S. aureus by selecting the most appropriate packaging according to aw range and storage temperature. Full article
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18 pages, 2900 KiB  
Article
Effect of Amino Acids on Fusarium oxysporum Growth and Pathogenicity Regulated by TORC1-Tap42 Gene and Related Interaction Protein Analysis
by Yijia Deng, Rundong Wang, Yuhao Zhang, Jianrong Li and Ravi Gooneratne
Foods 2023, 12(9), 1829; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12091829 - 28 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1243
Abstract
Free amino acids (AAs) formed in fermented meat products are important nitrogen sources for the survival and metabolism of contaminating fungi. These AAs are mainly regulated by the TORC1-Tap42 signaling pathway. Fusarium spp., a common contaminant of fermented products, is a potential [...] Read more.
Free amino acids (AAs) formed in fermented meat products are important nitrogen sources for the survival and metabolism of contaminating fungi. These AAs are mainly regulated by the TORC1-Tap42 signaling pathway. Fusarium spp., a common contaminant of fermented products, is a potential threat to food safety. Therefore, there is an urgent need to clarify the effect of different AAs on Fusarium spp. growth and metabolism. This study investigated the effect of 18 AAs on Fusarium oxysporum (Fo17) growth, sporulation, T-2 toxin (T-2) synthesis and Tri5 expression through Tap42 gene regulation. Co-immunoprecipitation and Q Exactive LC-MS/MS methods were used to detect the interacting protein of Tap42 during specific AA treatment. Tap42 positively regulated L-His, L-Ile and L-Tyr absorption for Fo17 colony growth. Acidic (L-Asp, L-Glu) and sulfur-containing (L-Cys, L-Met) AAs significantly inhibited the Fo17 growth which was not regulated by Tap42. The L-Ile and L-Pro addition significantly activated the sporulation of ΔFoTap42. L-His and L-Ser inhibited the sporulation of ΔFoTap42. In T-2 synthesis, ΔFoTap42 was increased in GYM medium, but was markedly inhibited in L-Asp and L-Glu addition groups. Dose–response experiments showed that 10–70 mg/mL of neutral AA (L-Thr) and alkaline AA (L-His) significantly increased the T-2 production and Tri5 expression of Fo17, but Tri5 expression was not activated in ΔFoTap42. Inhibition of T-2 synthesis and Tri5 expression were observed in Fo17 following the addition of 30–70 mg/mL L-Asp. KEGG enrichment pathway analysis demonstrated that interacting proteins of Tap42 were from glycerophospholipid metabolism, pentose phosphate pathway, glyoxylate and dicarboxylate metabolism, glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, and were related to the MAPK and Hippo signaling pathways. This study enhanced our understanding of AA regulation in fermented foods and its effect on Fusarium growth and metabolism, and provided insight into potential ways to control fungal contamination in high-protein fermented foods. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

18 pages, 366 KiB  
Review
Pathogenic E. coli in the Food Chain across the Arab Countries: A Descriptive Review
by Mohamed-Yousif Ibrahim Mohamed and Ihab Habib
Foods 2023, 12(20), 3726; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12203726 - 11 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1924
Abstract
Foodborne bacterial infections caused by pathogens are a widespread problem in the Middle East, leading to significant economic losses and negative impacts on public health. This review aims to offer insights into the recent literature regarding the occurrence of harmful E. coli bacteria [...] Read more.
Foodborne bacterial infections caused by pathogens are a widespread problem in the Middle East, leading to significant economic losses and negative impacts on public health. This review aims to offer insights into the recent literature regarding the occurrence of harmful E. coli bacteria in the food supply of Arab countries. Additionally, it aims to summarize existing information on health issues and the state of resistance to antibiotics. The reviewed evidence highlights a lack of a comprehensive understanding of the extent to which harmful E. coli genes are present in the food supply of Arab countries. Efforts to identify the source of harmful E. coli in the Arab world through molecular characterization are limited. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have conducted few surveys specifically targeting harmful E. coli in the food supply. Despite having qualitative data that indicate the presence or absence of harmful E. coli, there is a noticeable absence of quantitative data regarding the actual numbers of harmful E. coli in chicken meat supplies across all Arab countries. While reports about harmful E. coli in animal-derived foods are common, especially in North African Arab countries, the literature emphasized in this review underscores the ongoing challenge that harmful E. coli pose to food safety and public health in Arab countries. Full article
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