Special Issue "Transmission and Detection of Food and Environmental Pathogens"

A special issue of Microorganisms (ISSN 2076-2607). This special issue belongs to the section "Public Health Microbiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Nigel Cook
Website
Guest Editor
Jorvik Food and Environmental Virology, York, UK
Interests: food and environmental virology; transmission of pathogens; detection; food safety

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

To progress towards a full comprehension of the risk caused by pathogenic microorganisms transmitted via food and water, comprehensive information on the prevalence, the mechanisms of contamination, and the survival of pathogens is required. At present, our knowledge is incomplete, particularly for viruses and protozoan parasites. As long as such knowledge gaps exist, it will be difficult to devise effective systems to reduce contamination and to formulate procedural control measures such as implementation of food safety criteria.

International standard methods exist for a range of bacterial pathogens, and recently methods for the detection of foodborne viruses and protozoan parasites have been published. Their effective deployment will assist the elucidation of how food and environmental sources become contaminated, and the extent of contamination. Further advances are necessary, however. For example, methods based on nucleic acid amplification do not provide unambiguous information on the viability or infectivity of a target microorganism, and new approaches may be required, which will still need to be compatible with the incorporation of the controls necessary to ensure the full reliability of results. 

This Special Issue will present information on the latest research into the prevalence, transmission routes, and advanced methods of the detection of food and environmentally transmitted microbial pathogens.

Dr. Nigel Cook
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Microorganisms is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • prevalence
  • transmission
  • detection
  • foodborne
  • pathogens
  • environmental
  • food safety

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Metagenomic Analysis of Regularly Microwave-Treated and Untreated Domestic Kitchen Sponges
Microorganisms 2020, 8(5), 736; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8050736 - 14 May 2020
Abstract
Kitchen sponges massively absorb and spread microorganisms, leading to contamination of kitchen appliances, surfaces, and food. Microwaving as an effective and widespread technique can rapidly reduce the microbial load of kitchen sponges. However, long-term effects of such treatments are largely unknown. Notably, it [...] Read more.
Kitchen sponges massively absorb and spread microorganisms, leading to contamination of kitchen appliances, surfaces, and food. Microwaving as an effective and widespread technique can rapidly reduce the microbial load of kitchen sponges. However, long-term effects of such treatments are largely unknown. Notably, it has been speculated that regularly applied domestic cleaning and disinfection may select for microbial communities with a higher pathogenic potential and/or malodorous properties. In this study, we distributed newly purchased polyurethane kitchen sponges to 20 participants, with the instruction to use them under normal household conditions for four weeks. Ten of the participants sanitized their sponges regularly by a standardized microwaving protocol, while the remaining ten sponges remained untreated. Metagenomic sequence data evaluation indicated that, in addition to bacteria, viruses, eukaryotes, and archaea were also part of the kitchen sponge microbiome. Comparisons of sanitized and untreated kitchen sponges indicated a trend towards a reduced structural microbial diversity while functional diversity increased. Microwave sanitization appeared to alter composition and metabolic properties of the microbial communities. Follow-up studies will have to show whether these changes are more positive or negative in terms of domestic hygiene, human health, and well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transmission and Detection of Food and Environmental Pathogens)
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Open AccessArticle
The Response to Oxidative Stress in Listeria monocytogenes Is Temperature Dependent
Microorganisms 2020, 8(4), 521; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8040521 - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
The stress response of 11 strains of Listeria monocytogenes to oxidative stress was studied. The strains included ST1, ST5, ST7, ST6, ST9, ST87, ST199 and ST321 and were isolated from diverse food processing environments (a meat factory, a dairy plant and a seafood [...] Read more.
The stress response of 11 strains of Listeria monocytogenes to oxidative stress was studied. The strains included ST1, ST5, ST7, ST6, ST9, ST87, ST199 and ST321 and were isolated from diverse food processing environments (a meat factory, a dairy plant and a seafood company) and sample types (floor, wall, drain, boxes, food products and water machine). Isolates were exposed to two oxidizing agents: 13.8 mM cumene hydroperoxide (CHP) and 100 mM hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) at 10 °C and 37 °C. Temperature affected the oxidative stress response as cells treated at 10 °C survived better than those treated at 37 °C. H2O2 at 37 °C was the condition tested resulting in poorest L. monocytogenes survival. Strains belonging to STs of Lineage I (ST5, ST6, ST87, ST1) were more resistant to oxidative stress than those of Lineage II (ST7, ST9, ST199 and ST321), with the exception of ST7 that showed tolerance to H2O2 at 10 °C. Isolates of each ST5 and ST9 from different food industry origins showed differences in oxidative stress response. The gene expression of two relevant virulence (hly) and stress (clpC) genes was studied in representative isolates in the stressful conditions. hly and clpC were upregulated during oxidative stress at low temperature. Our results indicate that conditions prevalent in food industries may allow L. monocytogenes to develop survival strategies: these include activating molecular mechanisms based on cross protection that can promote virulence, possibly increasing the risk of virulent strains persisting in food processing plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transmission and Detection of Food and Environmental Pathogens)
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Open AccessArticle
Occurrence, Diversity of Listeria spp. Isolates from Food and Food-Contact Surfaces and the Presence of Virulence Genes
Microorganisms 2020, 8(2), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8020294 - 20 Feb 2020
Abstract
This study evaluates the hazards posed by foodborne bacteria of the Listeria genus by analyzing the occurrence, diversity and virulence of Listeria spp.in food and food-manufacturing plants. Seventy-five isolates obtained from the routine analysis of 653 samples taken by three diagnostic laboratories in [...] Read more.
This study evaluates the hazards posed by foodborne bacteria of the Listeria genus by analyzing the occurrence, diversity and virulence of Listeria spp.in food and food-manufacturing plants. Seventy-five isolates obtained from the routine analysis of 653 samples taken by three diagnostic laboratories in Northern Italy were genotypically differentiated by Repetitive Extragenic Palindrome (rep) PCR, with the GTG5 primer identified by sequencing the 16S rRNA gene and examined by specific PCR tests for the presence of L. monocytogenes virulence determinants occasionally found to occur in other species of the genus. Within this sample, 76% (n = 57) isolates were identified as L. innocua, 16% (n = 12) as L. monocytogenes, 6.6% (n = 5) as L. welshimeri and 1.3% (n = 1) as L. seeligeri. All L. monocytogenes isolates belonged to the serotype 1/2a and were predicted to be virulent for the presence of the inlJ internalin gene. Potentially virulent strains of L. innocua, L. seeligeri and L. welshimeri, carrying the L. monocytogenesinlA gene and/or hly gene, were identified, and most isolates were found to possess the toxin–antitoxin system mazEF for efficient adaptation to heat shock. Results indicated the need to reinforce food-contamination-prevention measures against all Listeria species by defining efficiently their environmental distribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transmission and Detection of Food and Environmental Pathogens)
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Open AccessArticle
Predominance of Distinct Listeria Innocua and Listeria Monocytogenes in Recurrent Contamination Events at Dairy Processing Facilities
Microorganisms 2020, 8(2), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8020234 - 10 Feb 2020
Abstract
The genus Listeria now comprises up to now 21 recognized species and six subspecies, with L. monocytogenes and L. innocua as the most prevalent sensu stricto associated species. Reports focusing on the challenges in Listeria detection and confirmation are available, especially from food-associated [...] Read more.
The genus Listeria now comprises up to now 21 recognized species and six subspecies, with L. monocytogenes and L. innocua as the most prevalent sensu stricto associated species. Reports focusing on the challenges in Listeria detection and confirmation are available, especially from food-associated environmental samples. L. innocua is more prevalent in the food processing environment (FPE) than L. monocytogenes and has been shown to have a growth advantage in selective enrichment and agar media. Until now, the adaptive nature of L. innocua in FPEs has not been fully elucidated and potential persistence in the FPE has not been observed. Therefore, the aim of this study is to characterize L. innocua (n = 139) and L. monocytogenes (n = 81) isolated from FPEs and cheese products collected at five dairy processing facilities (A–E) at geno- and phenotypic levels. Biochemical profiling was conducted for all L. monocytogenes and the majority of L. innocua (n = 124) isolates and included a rhamnose positive reaction. L. monocytogenes isolates were most frequently confirmed as PCR-serogroups 1/2a, 3a (95%). Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE)-typing, applying the restriction enzymes AscI, revealed 33 distinct Listeria PFGE profiles with a Simpson’s Index of Diversity of 0.75. Multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) resulted in 27 STs with seven new L. innocua local STs (ST1595 to ST1601). L. innocua ST1597 and ST603 and L. monocytogenes ST121 and ST14 were the most abundant genotypes in dairy processing facilities A–E over time. Either SSI-1 (ST14) or SSI-2 (ST121, all L. innocua) were present in successfully FPE-adapted strains. We identified housekeeping genes common in Listeria isolates and L. monocytogenes genetic lineage III. Wherever there are long-term contamination events of L. monocytogenes and other Listeria species, subtyping methods are helpful tools to identify niches of high risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transmission and Detection of Food and Environmental Pathogens)
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