Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) play a dual role in food manufacturing. While being indispensable for food fermentations and preservation, they are also involved in spoilage of foods and beverages, and some food-borne LAB are pathogens. Particularly, they became the main spoilage organisms in the cold-stored modified atmosphere packaged (MAP) foods. LAB species composition and their relative abundances depend on the nature of food products and preservation technology. However, two LAB species, Leuconostoc gelidum and Lactococcus piscium, have frequently been predominating at the end of shelf life in a variety of packaged and refrigerated foods of animal and plant origin. Besides the predominant species, spoilage LAB communities contain less abundant and slower growing species, such as Lactobacillus oligofermentans, the role of which in food spoilage is unclear. Taking into account the increased popularity of MAP technology combined with cold storage for preservation of minimally processed fresh foods, the need to obtain more information on the metabolism, genomics, ecology and interactions of psychrotrophic food-spoilage-associated LAB is clear. In this thesis a genomic approach was used to study these LAB. In order to characterize spoilage community members, we sequenced and annotated genomes of Lc. piscium MKFS47 and Lb. oligofermentans LMG 22743T, both isolated from broiler meat, and seven strains of Le. gelidum, isolated from vegetable-based foods. The analysis of their gene contents and their comparison with gene repertoire of other close related species allowed us to predict putative factors that might facilitate their survival in their habitats and increase competitiveness in the spoilage microbial communities. No major differences in the gene contents of the vegetable and meat Le. gelidum strains were observed that would suggest niche-specificity, therefore, indicating that the absence of strain dissemination between vegetable- and meat-processing chains is a more likely factor responsible for the reported strain segregation between vegetable and meat-based products. Lc. piscium MKFS47 was identified as an efficient producer of buttery off-odors compounds from glucose under aerobic conditions, which is in agreement with the previous inoculation studies. Time course glucose catabolism-based transcriptome profiles revealed the presence of classical carbon catabolite repression mechanism for the regulation of carbohydrate catabolism, which was relieved along with decreasing concentration of glucose. During the same time, the shift from homolactic to heterolactic fermentation mode was observed. For Lb. oligofermentans, a pentose-preferring obligate heterofermentative LAB, the induction of efficient utilization of hexoses was confirmed indicating that it has flexible carbohydrate catabolism, which can be adjusted depending on the carbohydrate sources available in the environment. Unexpectedly, transcriptome responses of Lb. oligofermentans during growth on glucose and xylose were more alike than during fermentation of ribose in the early exponential growth phase. In addition, cross induction of glucose and xylose catabolic genes by either glucose or xylose was observed. These phenomena could be governed by the CcpA transcriptional regulator, the regulation mechanism of which remains to be determined. Transcriptome-based study of interspecies interactions between three above mentioned LAB species revealed their different survival strategies to cope with competition for the common resources. Le. gelidum was shown to enhance its nutrient- (mainly carbohydrates) scavenging and growth capabilities under glucose limitation conditions when competing with the other LAB species, while the opposite was observed for Lc. piscium and Lb. oligofermentans. Such behavior might explain the competitive success and, hence, the predominance of Le. gelidum in spoilage microbial communities. Peculiarly, interspecies interactions activated expression of prophages and restriction modification systems in Lc. piscium and Lb. oligofermentans, but not in Le. gelidum. The downregulation of stress protection-related genes in all the LAB at the early growth stage was unexpected, and it requires further studies. Finally, overexpression of the numerous putative adhesins in Lb. oligofermentans during growth with other LAB could be one of the factors explaining its survival in actively growing communities in meat.
|Award date||28 Jan 2017|
|Place of Publication||Helsinki|
|Publication status||Published - 28 Jan 2017|
|MoE publication type||G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)|
Fields of Science
- 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology