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Microorganisms, Volume 5, Issue 3 (September 2017)

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Cover Story Toxic benthic microalgal blooms pose a threat to the environment. Marine biofilms were taken during [...] Read more.
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Research

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Open AccessArticle Free and Nanoencapsulated Tobramycin: Effects on Planktonic and Biofilm Forms of Pseudomonas
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 35; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030035
Received: 16 April 2017 / Revised: 13 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 26 June 2017
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Abstract
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder in which frequent pulmonary infections develop secondarily. One of the major pulmonary pathogens colonizing the respiratory tract of CF patients and causing chronic airway infections is Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Although tobramycin was initially effective against P.
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Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder in which frequent pulmonary infections develop secondarily. One of the major pulmonary pathogens colonizing the respiratory tract of CF patients and causing chronic airway infections is Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Although tobramycin was initially effective against P. aeruginosa, tobramycin-resistant strains have emerged. Among the strategies for overcoming resistance to tobramycin and other antibiotics is encapsulation of the drugs in nanoparticles. In this study, we explored the antimicrobial activity of nanoencapsulated tobramycin, both in solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN) and in nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC), against clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa obtained from CF patients. We also investigated the efficacy of these formulations in biofilm eradication. In both experiments, the activities of SLN and NLC were compared with that of free tobramycin. The susceptibility of planktonic bacteria was determined using the broth microdilution method and by plotting bacterial growth. The minimal biofilm eradication concentration (MBEC) was determined to assess the efficacy of the different tobramycin formulations against biofilms. The activity of tobramycin-loaded SLN was less than that of either tobramycin-loaded NLC or free tobramycin. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and MBEC of nanoencapsulated tobramycin were slightly lower (1–2 logs) than the corresponding values of the free drug when determined in tobramycin-susceptible isolates. However, in tobramycin-resistant strains, the MIC and MBEC did not differ between either encapsulated form and free tobramycin. Our results demonstrate the efficacy of nanoencapsulated formulations in killing susceptible P. aeruginosa from CF and from other patients. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Inoculation with Azospirillum sp. and Herbaspirillum sp. Bacteria Increases the Tolerance of Maize to Drought Stress
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 41; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030041
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 24 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
Stress drought is an important abiotic factor that leads to immense losses in crop yields around the world. Strategies are urgently needed to help plants adapt to drought in order to mitigate crop losses. Here we investigated the bioprotective effects of inoculating corn
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Stress drought is an important abiotic factor that leads to immense losses in crop yields around the world. Strategies are urgently needed to help plants adapt to drought in order to mitigate crop losses. Here we investigated the bioprotective effects of inoculating corn grown under drought conditions with two types of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), A. brasilense, strain SP-7, and H. seropedicae, strain Z-152. Plants inoculated with the bacteria were grown in a greenhouse with perlite as a substrate. Two hydric conditions were tested: normal well-watered conditions and drought conditions. Compared to control non-inoculated plants, those that were inoculated with PGPR bacteria showed a higher tolerance to the negative effects of water stress in drought conditions, with higher biomass production; higher carbon, nitrogen, and chlorophyll levels; and lower levels of abscisic acid and ethylene, which are plant hormones that affect the stress response. The oxidative stress levels of these plants were similar to those of non-inoculated plants grown in well-watered conditions, showing fewer injuries to the cell membrane. We also noted higher relative water content in the vegetal tissue and better osmoregulation in drought conditions in inoculated plants, as reflected by significantly lower proline content. Finally, we observed lower gene expression of ZmVP14 in the inoculated plants; notably, ZmVP14 is involved in the biosynthesis of abscisic acid. Taken together, these results demonstrate that these bacteria could be used to help plants cope with the negative effects of drought stress conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiotic Plant-Bacterial Endospheric Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Non-Dairy Food Matrices on the Survival of Probiotic Bacteria during Storage
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 43; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030043
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
The viability of probiotics in non-dairy food products during storage is required to meet content criteria for probiotic products. This study investigated whether non-dairy foods could be matrices for probiotics. Selected probiotic bacteria were coated on non-dairy foods under two storage conditions, and
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The viability of probiotics in non-dairy food products during storage is required to meet content criteria for probiotic products. This study investigated whether non-dairy foods could be matrices for probiotics. Selected probiotic bacteria were coated on non-dairy foods under two storage conditions, and viabilities were assessed. The non-dairy foods were coated with 5–7 log cfu g−1 of Lactobacillus acidophilus ATCC4356T, Lactobacillus plantarum RC30, and Bifidobacterium longum ATCC15707T. The coated non-dairy foods were stored at 20 °C and 20% relative humidity (RH) or 30 °C and 50% RH. Viability of probiotic bacteria was determined after 0, 2, and 4 weeks of storage. B. longum showed the highest survival at week 4 of 6.5–6.7 log cfu g−1 on wheat bran and oat, compared with 3.7–3.9 log cfu g−1 of L. acidophilus and 4.2–4.8 log cfu g−1 of L. plantarum at 20 °C 20% RH. Under the storage conditions of 30 °C 50% RH, survival of 4.5 log cfu g−1 of B. longum was also found on oat and peanut. This was two and four times higher than the population of L. acidophilus and L. plantarum, respectively. The results suggest that probiotics can survive on non-dairy foods under ambient storage conditions. However, the storage conditions, food matrices, and probiotic strains should be carefully chosen to maximize probiotic bacteria survival. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbes and Food)
Open AccessArticle Growth and Photosynthetic Characteristics of Toxic and Non-Toxic Strains of the Cyanobacteria Microcystis aeruginosa and Anabaena circinalis in Relation to Light
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 45; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030045
Received: 23 June 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
Cyanobacteria are major bloom-forming organisms in freshwater ecosystems and many strains are known to produce toxins. Toxin production requires an investment in energy and resources. As light is one of the most important factors for cyanobacterial growth, any changes in light climate might
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Cyanobacteria are major bloom-forming organisms in freshwater ecosystems and many strains are known to produce toxins. Toxin production requires an investment in energy and resources. As light is one of the most important factors for cyanobacterial growth, any changes in light climate might affect cyanobacterial toxin production as well as their growth and physiology. To evaluate the effects of light on the growth and physiological parameters of both toxic and non-toxic strains of Microcystis aeruginosa and Anabaena circinalis, cultures were grown at a range of light intensities (10, 25, 50, 100, 150 and 200 µmol m−2 s−1). The study revealed that the toxic strains of both species (CS558 for M. aeruginosa and CS537 and CS541 for A. circinalis) showed growth (µ) saturation at a higher light intensity compared to the non-toxic strains (CS338 for M. aeruginosa and CS534 for A. circinalis). Both species showed differences in chlorophyll a, carotenoid, allophycocyanin (APC) and phycoerythrin (PE) content between strains. There were also differences in dark respiration (Rd), light saturated oxygen evolution rates (Pmax) and efficiency of light harvesting (α) between strains. All other physiological parameters showed no statistically significant differences between strains. This study suggest that the different strains respond differently to different light habitats. Thus, changes in light availability may affect bloom intensity of toxic and nontoxic strains of cyanobacteria by changing the dominance and succession patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Cyanobacteria and Toxic Dinoflagellates)
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Open AccessArticle Culturing Toxic Benthic Blooms: The Fate of Natural Biofilms in a Microcosm System
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 46; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030046
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 6 August 2017
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Abstract
A microcosm designed for culturing aquatic phototrophic biofilms on artificial substrata was used to perform experiments with microphytobenthos sampled during summer toxic outbreaks of Ostreopsis cf. ovata along the Middle Tyrrhenian coast. This dynamic approach aimed at exploring the unique and complex nature
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A microcosm designed for culturing aquatic phototrophic biofilms on artificial substrata was used to perform experiments with microphytobenthos sampled during summer toxic outbreaks of Ostreopsis cf. ovata along the Middle Tyrrhenian coast. This dynamic approach aimed at exploring the unique and complex nature of O. cf. ovata bloom development in the benthic system. Epibenthic assemblages were used as inocula for co-cultures of bloom organisms on polycarbonate slides at controlled environmental conditions. Biofilm surface adhesion, growth, and spatial structure were evaluated along with shifts in composition and matrix production in a low disturbance regime, simulating source habitat. Initial adhesion and substratum colonisation appeared as stochastic processes, then community structure and physiognomy markedly changed with time. Dominance of filamentous cyanobacteria and diatoms, and dense clusters of Amphidinium cf. carterae at the mature biofilm phases, were recorded by light and confocal microscopy, whilst O. cf. ovata growth was visibly limited in the late culture phases. Life-form strategies, competitiveness for resources, and possibly allelopathic interactions shaped biofilm structure during culture growth. HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) analysis of exopolysaccharidic matrix revealed variations in sugar total amounts and composition. No toxic compounds were detected in the final communities tested by LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry) and MALDI-TOF MS (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time OF Flight Mass Spectroscopy) techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Cyanobacteria and Toxic Dinoflagellates)
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Open AccessArticle MALDI-TOF MS for the Identification of Cultivable Organic-Degrading Bacteria in Contaminated Groundwater near Unconventional Natural Gas Extraction Sites
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 47; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030047
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 21 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 10 August 2017
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Abstract
Groundwater quality and quantity is of extreme importance as it is a source of drinking water in the United States. One major concern has emerged due to the possible contamination of groundwater from unconventional oil and natural gas extraction activities. Recent studies have
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Groundwater quality and quantity is of extreme importance as it is a source of drinking water in the United States. One major concern has emerged due to the possible contamination of groundwater from unconventional oil and natural gas extraction activities. Recent studies have been performed to understand if these activities are causing groundwater contamination, particularly with respect to exogenous hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds. The impact of contaminants on microbial ecology is an area to be explored as alternatives for water treatment are necessary. In this work, we identified cultivable organic-degrading bacteria in groundwater in close proximity to unconventional natural gas extraction. Pseudomonas stutzeri and Acinetobacter haemolyticus were identified using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time-of-flight-mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), which proved to be a simple, fast, and reliable method. Additionally, the potential use of the identified bacteria in water and/or wastewater bioremediation was studied by determining the ability of these microorganisms to degrade toluene and chloroform. In fact, these bacteria can be potentially applied for in situ bioremediation of contaminated water and wastewater treatment, as they were able to degrade both compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microorganisms for Environmental and Industrial Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Transcriptional Analysis Allows Genome Reannotation and Reveals that Cryptococcus gattii VGII Undergoes Nutrient Restriction during Infection
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 49; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030049
Received: 24 July 2017 / Revised: 16 August 2017 / Accepted: 18 August 2017 / Published: 23 August 2017
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Abstract
Cryptococcus gattii is a human and animal pathogen that infects healthy hosts and caused the Pacific Northwest outbreak of cryptococcosis. The inhalation of infectious propagules can lead to internalization of cryptococcal cells by alveolar macrophages, a niche in which C. gattii cells can
[...] Read more.
Cryptococcus gattii is a human and animal pathogen that infects healthy hosts and caused the Pacific Northwest outbreak of cryptococcosis. The inhalation of infectious propagules can lead to internalization of cryptococcal cells by alveolar macrophages, a niche in which C. gattii cells can survive and proliferate. Although the nutrient composition of macrophages is relatively unknown, the high induction of amino acid transporter genes inside the phagosome indicates a preference for amino acid uptake instead of synthesis. However, the presence of countable errors in the R265 genome annotation indicates significant inhibition of transcriptomic analysis in this hypervirulent strain. Thus, we analyzed RNA-Seq data from in vivo and in vitro cultures of C. gattii R265 to perform the reannotation of the genome. In addition, based on in vivo transcriptomic data, we identified highly expressed genes and pathways of amino acid metabolism that would enable C. gattii to survive and proliferate in vivo. Importantly, we identified high expression in three APC amino acid transporters as well as the GABA permease. The use of amino acids as carbon and nitrogen sources, releasing ammonium and generating carbohydrate metabolism intermediaries, also explains the high expression of components of several degradative pathways, since glucose starvation is an important host defense mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Nutrition Assimilation Strategies and Pathogenicity)
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Open AccessArticle Multiple Antibiotic-Resistant, Extended Spectrum-β-Lactamase (ESBL)-Producing Enterobacteria in Fresh Seafood
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 53; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030053
Received: 22 June 2017 / Revised: 16 August 2017 / Accepted: 25 August 2017 / Published: 30 August 2017
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Abstract
Members of the family Enterobacteriaceae include several human pathogens that can be acquired through contaminated food and water. In this study, the incidence of extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing enterobacteria was investigated in fresh seafood sold in retail markets. The ESBL-positive phenotype was detected
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Members of the family Enterobacteriaceae include several human pathogens that can be acquired through contaminated food and water. In this study, the incidence of extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing enterobacteria was investigated in fresh seafood sold in retail markets. The ESBL-positive phenotype was detected in 169 (78.60%) isolates, with Escherichia coli being the predominant species (53), followed by Klebsiella oxytoca (27), and K. pneumoniae (23). More than 90% of the isolates were resistant to third generation cephalosporins, cefotaxime, ceftazidime, and cefpodoxime. Sixty-five percent of the isolates were resistant to the monobactam drug aztreonam, 40.82% to ertapenem, and 31.36% to meropenem. Resistance to at least five antibiotics was observed in 38.46% of the isolates. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) analysis of ESBL-encoding genes detected blaCTX, blaSHV, and blaTEM genes in 76.92%, 63.3%, and 44.37% of the isolates, respectively. Multiple ESBL genes were detected in majority of the isolates. The recently discovered New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase gene (blaNDM-1) was detected in two ESBL+ isolates. Our study shows that secondary contamination of fresh seafood with enteric bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics may implicate seafood as a potential carrier of antibiotic resistant bacteria and emphasizes an urgent need to prevent environmental contamination and dissemination of such bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Microbiology)
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Open AccessArticle The Skin Bacterium Propionibacterium acnes Employs Two Variants of Hyaluronate Lyase with Distinct Properties
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 57; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030057
Received: 2 August 2017 / Revised: 7 September 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 12 September 2017
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Abstract
Hyaluronic acid (HA) and other glycosaminoglycans are extracellular matrix components in the human epidermis and dermis. One of the most prevalent skin microorganisms, Propionibacterium acnes, possesses HA-degrading activity, possibly conferred by the enzyme hyaluronate lyase (HYL). In this study, we identified the
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Hyaluronic acid (HA) and other glycosaminoglycans are extracellular matrix components in the human epidermis and dermis. One of the most prevalent skin microorganisms, Propionibacterium acnes, possesses HA-degrading activity, possibly conferred by the enzyme hyaluronate lyase (HYL). In this study, we identified the HYL of P. acnes and investigated the genotypic and phenotypic characteristics. Investigations include the generation of a P. acnes hyl knockout mutant and HYL activity assays to determine the substrate range and formed products. We found that P. acnes employs two distinct variants of HYL. One variant, HYL-IB/II, is highly active, resulting in complete HA degradation; it is present in strains of the phylotypes IB and II. The other variant, HYL-IA, has low activity, resulting in incomplete HA degradation; it is present in type IA strains. Our findings could explain some of the observed differences between P. acnes phylotype IA and IB/II strains. Whereas type IA strains are primarily found on the skin surface and associated with acne vulgaris, type IB/II strains are more often associated with soft and deep tissue infections, which would require elaborate tissue invasion strategies, possibly accomplished by a highly active HYL-IB/II. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Functions of the Microbiome in Skin Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle Rapid and Highly Sensitive Non-Competitive Immunoassay for Specific Detection of Nodularin
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 58; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030058
Received: 12 June 2017 / Revised: 27 August 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 12 September 2017
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Abstract
Nodularin (NOD) is a cyclic penta-peptide hepatotoxin mainly produced by Nodularia spumigena, reported from the brackish water bodies of various parts of the world. It can accumulate in the food chain and, for safety reasons, levels of NOD not only in water
[...] Read more.
Nodularin (NOD) is a cyclic penta-peptide hepatotoxin mainly produced by Nodularia spumigena, reported from the brackish water bodies of various parts of the world. It can accumulate in the food chain and, for safety reasons, levels of NOD not only in water bodies but also in food matrices are of interest. Here, we report on a non-competitive immunoassay for the specific detection of NOD. A phage display technique was utilized to interrogate a synthetic antibody phage library for binders recognizing NOD bound to an anti-ADDA (3-Amino-9-methoxy-2,6,8-trimethyl-10-phenyldeca-4(E),6(E)-dienoic acid) monoclonal antibody (Mab). One of the obtained immunocomplex binders, designated SA32C11, showed very high specificity towards nodularin-R (NOD-R) over to the tested 10 different microcystins (microcystin-LR, -dmLR, -RR, -dmRR, -YR, -LY, -LF, -LW, -LA, -WR). It was expressed in Escherichia coli as a single chain antibody fragment (scFv) fusion protein and used to establish a time-resolved fluorometry-based assay in combination with the anti-ADDA Mab. The detection limit (blank + 3SD) of the immunoassay, with a total assay time of 1 h 10 min, is 0.03 µg/L of NOD-R. This represents the most sensitive immunoassay method for the specific detection of NOD reported so far. The assay was tested for its performance to detect NOD using spiked (0.1 to 3 µg/L of NOD-R) water samples including brackish sea and coastal water and the recovery ranged from 79 to 127%. Furthermore, a panel of environmental samples, including water from different sources, fish and other marine tissue specimens, were analyzed for NOD using the assay. The assay has potential as a rapid screening tool for the analysis of a large number of water samples for the presence of NOD. It can also find applications in the analysis of the bioaccumulation of NOD in marine organisms and in the food chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Cyanobacteria and Toxic Dinoflagellates)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Environmental Factors on Intra-Specific Inhibitory Activity of Carnobacterium maltaromaticum
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 59; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030059
Received: 26 June 2017 / Revised: 6 September 2017 / Accepted: 7 September 2017 / Published: 14 September 2017
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Abstract
Carnobacterium maltaromaticum is frequently associated with foods having extended shelf-life due to its inhibitory activity to other bacteria. The quantification of such inhibition interactions affected by various environmental factors is limited. This study investigated the effect of environmental factors relevant to vacuum-packaged beef
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Carnobacterium maltaromaticum is frequently associated with foods having extended shelf-life due to its inhibitory activity to other bacteria. The quantification of such inhibition interactions affected by various environmental factors is limited. This study investigated the effect of environmental factors relevant to vacuum-packaged beef on inhibition between two model isolates of C. maltaromaticum, D0h and D8c, specifically D8c sensitivity to D0h inhibition and D0h inhibitor production. The effects of temperature (−1, 7, 15, 25 °C), atmosphere (aerobic and anaerobic), pH (5.5, 6, 6.5), lactic acid (0, 25, 50 mM) and glucose (0, 0.56, 5.55 mM) on D8c sensitivity (diameter of an inhibition zone) were measured. The effects of pH, glucose, lactic acid and atmosphere on D0h inhibitor production were measured at 25 °C. Sensitivity of D8c was the highest at 15 °C, under aerobic atmosphere, at higher concentrations of undissociated lactic acid and glucose, and at pH 5.5 (p < 0.001). pH significantly affected D0h inhibitor production (p < 0.001), which was the highest at pH 6.5. The effect of lactic acid depended upon pH level; at relatively low pH (5.5), lactic acid decreased the production rate (arbitrary inhibition unit (AU)/mL/h). This study provides a quantitative description of intra-species interactions, studied in in vitro environments that are relevant to vacuum-packaged beef. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Response of Microbial Communities to Environmental Changes)
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Open AccessArticle Proteomic Characterization of Armillaria mellea Reveals Oxidative Stress Response Mechanisms and Altered Secondary Metabolism Profiles
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 60; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030060
Received: 3 August 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 17 September 2017
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Abstract
Armillaria mellea is a major plant pathogen. Yet, the strategies the organism uses to infect susceptible species, degrade lignocellulose and other plant material and protect itself against plant defences and its own glycodegradative arsenal are largely unknown. Here, we use a combination of
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Armillaria mellea is a major plant pathogen. Yet, the strategies the organism uses to infect susceptible species, degrade lignocellulose and other plant material and protect itself against plant defences and its own glycodegradative arsenal are largely unknown. Here, we use a combination of gel and MS-based proteomics to profile A. mellea under conditions of oxidative stress and changes in growth matrix. 2-DE and LC-MS/MS were used to investigate the response of A. mellea to H2O2 and menadione/FeCl3 exposure, respectively. Several proteins were detected with altered abundance in response to H2O2, but not menadione/FeCl3 (i.e., valosin-containing protein), indicating distinct responses to these different forms of oxidative stress. One protein, cobalamin-independent methionine synthase, demonstrated a common response in both conditions, which may be a marker for a more general stress response mechanism. Further changes to the A. mellea proteome were investigated using MS-based proteomics, which identified changes to putative secondary metabolism (SM) enzymes upon growth in agar compared to liquid cultures. Metabolomic analyses revealed distinct profiles, highlighting the effect of growth matrix on SM production. This establishes robust methods by which to utilize comparative proteomics to characterize this important phytopathogen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Genomics to Infectious Disease of Plants)
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Open AccessArticle Microbial Community Structure and Functions in Ethanol-Fed Sulfate Removal Bioreactors for Treatment of Mine Water
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 61; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030061
Received: 9 June 2017 / Revised: 14 September 2017 / Accepted: 19 September 2017 / Published: 20 September 2017
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Abstract
Sulfate-rich mine water must be treated before it is released into natural water bodies. We tested ethanol as substrate in bioreactors designed for biological sulfate removal from mine water containing up to 9 g L−1 sulfate, using granular sludge from an industrial
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Sulfate-rich mine water must be treated before it is released into natural water bodies. We tested ethanol as substrate in bioreactors designed for biological sulfate removal from mine water containing up to 9 g L−1 sulfate, using granular sludge from an industrial waste water treatment plant as inoculum. The pH, redox potential, and sulfate and sulfide concentrations were measured twice a week over a maximum of 171 days. The microbial communities in the bioreactors were characterized by qPCR and high throughput amplicon sequencing. The pH in the bioreactors fluctuated between 5.0 and 7.7 with the highest amount of up to 50% sulfate removed measured around pH 6. Dissimilatory sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) constituted only between 1% and 15% of the bacterial communities. Predicted bacterial metagenomes indicated a high prevalence of assimilatory sulfate reduction proceeding to formation of l-cystein and acetate, assimilatory and dissimilatory nitrate reduction, denitrification, and oxidation of ethanol to acetaldehyde with further conversion to ethanolamine, but not to acetate. Despite efforts to maintain optimal conditions for biological sulfate reduction in the bioreactors, only a small part of the microorganisms were SRB. The microbial communities were highly diverse, containing bacteria, archaea, and fungi, all of which affected the overall microbial processes in the bioreactors. While it is important to monitor specific physicochemical parameters in bioreactors, molecular assessment of the microbial communities may serve as a tool to identify biological factors affecting bioreactor functions and to optimize physicochemical attributes for ideal bioreactor performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microorganisms for Environmental and Industrial Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Diagnostic Value of Endotracheal Aspirates Sonication on Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia Microbiologic Diagnosis
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 62; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030062
Received: 10 August 2017 / Revised: 15 September 2017 / Accepted: 17 September 2017 / Published: 20 September 2017
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Abstract
Microorganisms are able to form biofilms within respiratory secretions. Methods to disaggregate such biofilms before utilizing standard, rapid, or high throughput diagnostic technologies may aid in pathogen detection during ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) diagnosis. Our aim was to determine if sonication of endotracheal
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Microorganisms are able to form biofilms within respiratory secretions. Methods to disaggregate such biofilms before utilizing standard, rapid, or high throughput diagnostic technologies may aid in pathogen detection during ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) diagnosis. Our aim was to determine if sonication of endotracheal aspirates (ETA) would increase the sensitivity of qualitative, semi-quantitative, and quantitative bacterial cultures in an animal model of pneumonia caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa or by methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Material and methods: P. aeruginosa or MRSA was instilled into the lungs or the oropharynx of pigs in order to induce severe VAP. Time point assessments for qualitative and quantitative bacterial cultures of ETA and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples were performed at 24, 48, and 72 h after bacterial instillation. In addition, at 72 h (autopsy), lung tissue was harvested to perform quantitative bacterial cultures. Each ETA sample was microbiologically processed with and without applying sonication for 5 min at 40 KHz before bacterial cultures. Sensitivity and specificity were determined using BAL as a gold-standard. Correlation with BAL and lung bacterial burden was also determined before and after sonication. Assessment of biofilm clusters and planktonic bacteria was performed through both optical microscopy utilizing Gram staining and Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy utilizing the LIVE/DEAD®BacLight kit. Results: 33 pigs were included, 27 and 6 from P. aeruginosa and MRSA pneumonia models, respectively. Overall, we obtained 85 ETA, 69 (81.2%) from P. aeruginosa and 16 (18.8%) from MRSA challenged pigs. Qualitative cultures did not significantly change after sonication, whereas quantitative ETA cultures did significantly increase bacterial counting. Indeed, sonication consistently increased bacterial burden in ETAs at 24, 48, and 72 h after bacterial challenge. Sonication also improved sensitivity of ETA quantitative cultures and maintained specificity at levels previously reported and accepted for VAP diagnosis. Conclusion: The use of sonication in ETA respiratory samples needs to be clinically validated since sonication could potentially improve pathogen detection before standard, rapid, or high throughput diagnostic methods used in routine microbial diagnostics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Biofilms and Human Infections)
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Open AccessArticle Bioprospecting for Exopolysaccharides from Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vent Bacteria: Relationship between Bacterial Diversity and Chemical Diversity
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 63; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030063
Received: 13 July 2017 / Revised: 6 September 2017 / Accepted: 18 September 2017 / Published: 20 September 2017
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Abstract
Many bacteria biosynthesize structurally diverse exopolysaccharides (EPS) and excrete them into their surrounding environment. The EPS functional features have found many applications in industries such as cosmetics and pharmaceutics. In particular, some EPS produced by marine bacteria are composed of uronic acids, neutral
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Many bacteria biosynthesize structurally diverse exopolysaccharides (EPS) and excrete them into their surrounding environment. The EPS functional features have found many applications in industries such as cosmetics and pharmaceutics. In particular, some EPS produced by marine bacteria are composed of uronic acids, neutral sugars, and N-acetylhexosamines, and may also bear some functional sulfate groups. This suggests that they can share common structural features with glycosaminoglycans (GAG) like the two EPS (HE800 and GY785) originating from the deep sea. In an attempt to discover new EPS that may be promising candidates as GAG-mimetics, fifty-one marine bacterial strains originating from deep-sea hydrothermal vents were screened. The analysis of the EPS chemical structure in relation to bacterial species showed that Vibrio, Alteromonas, and Pseudoalteromonas strains were the main producers. Moreover, they produced EPS with distinct structural features, which might be useful for targeting marine bacteria that could possibly produce structurally GAG-mimetic EPS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine-Derived Exopolysaccharides to Mimic Glycosaminoglycans)
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Open AccessReview Antifungal Microbial Agents for Food Biopreservation—A Review
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 37; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030037
Received: 9 May 2017 / Revised: 21 June 2017 / Accepted: 24 June 2017 / Published: 8 July 2017
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Abstract
Food spoilage is a major issue for the food industry, leading to food waste, substantial economic losses for manufacturers and consumers, and a negative impact on brand names. Among causes, fungal contamination can be encountered at various stages of the food chain (e.g.,
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Food spoilage is a major issue for the food industry, leading to food waste, substantial economic losses for manufacturers and consumers, and a negative impact on brand names. Among causes, fungal contamination can be encountered at various stages of the food chain (e.g., post-harvest, during processing or storage). Fungal development leads to food sensory defects varying from visual deterioration to noticeable odor, flavor, or texture changes but can also have negative health impacts via mycotoxin production by some molds. In order to avoid microbial spoilage and thus extend product shelf life, different treatments—including fungicides and chemical preservatives—are used. In parallel, public authorities encourage the food industry to limit the use of these chemical compounds and develop natural methods for food preservation. This is accompanied by a strong societal demand for ‘clean label’ food products, as consumers are looking for more natural, less severely processed and safer products. In this context, microbial agents corresponding to bioprotective cultures, fermentates, culture-free supernatant or purified molecules, exhibiting antifungal activities represent a growing interest as an alternative to chemical preservation. This review presents the main fungal spoilers encountered in food products, the antifungal microorganisms tested for food bioprotection, and their mechanisms of action. A focus is made in particular on the recent in situ studies and the constraints associated with the use of antifungal microbial agents for food biopreservation. Full article
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Open AccessReview Strategies for Pathogen Biocontrol Using Lactic Acid Bacteria and Their Metabolites: A Focus on Meat Ecosystems and Industrial Environments
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 38; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030038
Received: 18 May 2017 / Revised: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
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Abstract
The globalization of trade and lifestyle ensure that the factors responsible for the emergence of diseases are more present than ever. Despite biotechnology advancements, meat-based foods are still under scrutiny because of the presence of pathogens, which causes a loss of consumer confidence
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The globalization of trade and lifestyle ensure that the factors responsible for the emergence of diseases are more present than ever. Despite biotechnology advancements, meat-based foods are still under scrutiny because of the presence of pathogens, which causes a loss of consumer confidence and consequently a fall in demand. In this context, Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) as GRAS organisms offer an alternative for developing pathogen-free foods, particularly avoiding Listeria monocytogenes, with minimal processing and fewer additives while maintaining the foods’ sensorial characteristics. The use of LAB strains, enabling us to produce antimicrobial peptides (bacteriocins) in addition to lactic acid, with an impact on quality and safety during fermentation, processing, and/or storage of meat and ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products, constitutes a promising tool. A number of bacteriocin-based strategies including the use of bioprotective cultures, purified and/or semi-purified bacteriocins as well as their inclusion in varied packaging materials under different storage conditions, have been investigated. The application of bacteriocins as part of hurdle technology using non-thermal technologies was explored for the preservation of RTE meat products. Likewise, considering that food contamination with L. monocytogenes is a consequence of the post-processing manipulation of RTE foods, the role of bacteriocinogenic LAB in the control of biofilms formed on industrial surfaces is also discussed. Full article
Open AccessReview Microorganisms in Fermented Apple Beverages: Current Knowledge and Future Directions
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 39; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030039
Received: 27 June 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
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Abstract
Production of fermented apple beverages is spread all around the world with specificities in each country. ‘French ciders’ refer to fermented apple juice mainly produced in the northwest of France and often associated with short periods of consumption. Research articles on this kind
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Production of fermented apple beverages is spread all around the world with specificities in each country. ‘French ciders’ refer to fermented apple juice mainly produced in the northwest of France and often associated with short periods of consumption. Research articles on this kind of product are scarce compared to wine, especially on phenomena associated with microbial activities. The wine fermentation microbiome and its dynamics, organoleptic improvement for healthy and pleasant products and development of starters are now widely studied. Even if both beverages seem close in terms of microbiome and process (with both alcoholic and malolactic fermentations), the inherent properties of the raw materials and different production and environmental parameters make research on the specificities of apple fermentation beverages worthwhile. This review summarizes current knowledge on the cider microbial ecosystem, associated activities and the influence of process parameters. In addition, available data on cider quality and safety is reviewed. Finally, we focus on the future role of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in the development of even better or new beverages made from apples. Full article
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Open AccessReview Diversity and Control of Spoilage Fungi in Dairy Products: An Update
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 42; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030042
Received: 10 July 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
Fungi are common contaminants of dairy products, which provide a favorable niche for their growth. They are responsible for visible or non-visible defects, such as off-odor and -flavor, and lead to significant food waste and losses as well as important economic losses. Control
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Fungi are common contaminants of dairy products, which provide a favorable niche for their growth. They are responsible for visible or non-visible defects, such as off-odor and -flavor, and lead to significant food waste and losses as well as important economic losses. Control of fungal spoilage is a major concern for industrials and scientists that are looking for efficient solutions to prevent and/or limit fungal spoilage in dairy products. Several traditional methods also called traditional hurdle technologies are implemented and combined to prevent and control such contaminations. Prevention methods include good manufacturing and hygiene practices, air filtration, and decontamination systems, while control methods include inactivation treatments, temperature control, and modified atmosphere packaging. However, despite technology advances in existing preservation methods, fungal spoilage is still an issue for dairy manufacturers and in recent years, new (bio) preservation technologies are being developed such as the use of bioprotective cultures. This review summarizes our current knowledge on the diversity of spoilage fungi in dairy products and the traditional and (potentially) new hurdle technologies to control their occurrence in dairy foods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbes and Food)
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Open AccessReview Filamentous Fungal Human Pathogens from Food Emphasising Aspergillus, Fusarium and Mucor
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 44; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030044
Received: 23 May 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 2 August 2017
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Abstract
Disease caused by filamentous fungal human pathogens (FFHP) is increasing. These organisms cause severe mycoses in immunosuppressed individuals, such as those: (a) with AIDS; (b) having undergone transplantation; and/or (c) undergoing chemotherapy. Immunocompetent people can become infected. Some FFHP are isolated from foods
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Disease caused by filamentous fungal human pathogens (FFHP) is increasing. These organisms cause severe mycoses in immunosuppressed individuals, such as those: (a) with AIDS; (b) having undergone transplantation; and/or (c) undergoing chemotherapy. Immunocompetent people can become infected. Some FFHP are isolated from foods which may be fomites. However, the information concerning particular species on specific food is large, dispersed and difficult to obtain. Reports of filamentous fungi from food/crops and causing human disease are frequently only available in the literature of food mycology/plant pathology and medical mycology, respectively: it is seldom cross-referenced. Aspergillus contains some species with strains that are the most dangerous FFHP, with Aspergillus fumigatus causing the most serious diseases. Fusarium and Mucor also contain species of high importance and approximately 15 other genera are involved. A checklist and database of FFHP species isolated from food is presented herein with emphasis on Aspergillus, Fusarium and Mucor in summary tables to increase awareness of the connection between food and FFHP. Metadata on all FFHP is provided in a large supplementary table for updating and revision when necessary. Previous names of fungi have been revised to reflect current valid usage whenever appropriate. The information will form a foundation for future research and taxonomic revisions in the field. The paper will be highly useful for medical practitioners, food mycologists, fungal taxonomists, patients, regulators and food producers interested in reducing infectious diseases and producing high quality food. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbes and Food)
Open AccessReview Phosphate Acquisition and Virulence in Human Fungal Pathogens
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 48; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030048
Received: 20 July 2017 / Revised: 15 August 2017 / Accepted: 16 August 2017 / Published: 22 August 2017
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Abstract
The ability of pathogenic fungi to acquire essential macro and micronutrients during infection is a well-established virulence trait. Recent studies in the major human fungal pathogens Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans have revealed that acquisition of the essential macronutrient, phosphate, is essential for
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The ability of pathogenic fungi to acquire essential macro and micronutrients during infection is a well-established virulence trait. Recent studies in the major human fungal pathogens Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans have revealed that acquisition of the essential macronutrient, phosphate, is essential for virulence. The phosphate sensing and acquisition pathway in fungi, known as the PHO pathway, has been extensively characterized in the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In this review, we highlight recent advances in phosphate sensing and signaling mechanisms, and use the S. cerevisiae PHO pathway as a platform from which to compare the phosphate acquisition and storage strategies employed by several human pathogenic fungi. We also explore the multi-layered roles of phosphate acquisition in promoting fungal stress resistance to pH, cationic, and oxidative stresses, and describe emerging roles for the phosphate storage molecule polyphosphate (polyP). Finally, we summarize the recent studies supporting the necessity of phosphate acquisition in mediating the virulence of human fungal pathogens, highlighting the concept that this requirement is intimately linked to promoting resistance to host-imposed stresses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Nutrition Assimilation Strategies and Pathogenicity)
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Open AccessReview Bacterial Contaminants of Poultry Meat: Sources, Species, and Dynamics
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 50; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030050
Received: 27 July 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 25 August 2017
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Abstract
With the constant increase in poultry meat consumption worldwide and the large variety of poultry meat products and consumer demand, ensuring the microbial safety of poultry carcasses and cuts is essential. In the present review, we address the bacterial contamination of poultry meat
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With the constant increase in poultry meat consumption worldwide and the large variety of poultry meat products and consumer demand, ensuring the microbial safety of poultry carcasses and cuts is essential. In the present review, we address the bacterial contamination of poultry meat from the slaughtering steps to the use-by-date of the products. The different contamination sources are identified. The contaminants occurring in poultry meat cuts and their behavior toward sanitizing treatments or various storage conditions are discussed. A list of the main pathogenic bacteria of concern for the consumer and those responsible for spoilage and waste of poultry meat is established. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbes and Food)
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Open AccessReview The Sea as a Rich Source of Structurally Unique Glycosaminoglycans and Mimetics
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 51; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030051
Received: 13 July 2017 / Revised: 14 August 2017 / Accepted: 22 August 2017 / Published: 28 August 2017
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Abstract
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are sulfated glycans capable of regulating various biological and medical functions. Heparin, heparan sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, dermatan sulfate, keratan sulfate and hyaluronan are the principal classes of GAGs found in animals. Although GAGs are all composed of disaccharide repeating building blocks,
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Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are sulfated glycans capable of regulating various biological and medical functions. Heparin, heparan sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, dermatan sulfate, keratan sulfate and hyaluronan are the principal classes of GAGs found in animals. Although GAGs are all composed of disaccharide repeating building blocks, the sulfation patterns and the composing alternating monosaccharides vary among classes. Interestingly, GAGs from marine organisms can present structures clearly distinct from terrestrial animals even considering the same class of GAG. The holothurian fucosylated chondroitin sulfate, the dermatan sulfates with distinct sulfation patterns extracted from ascidian species, the sulfated glucuronic acid-containing heparan sulfate isolated from the gastropode Nodipecten nodosum, and the hybrid heparin/heparan sulfate molecule obtained from the shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei are some typical examples. Besides being a rich source of structurally unique GAGs, the sea is also a wealthy environment of GAG-resembling sulfated glycans. Examples of these mimetics are the sulfated fucans and sulfated galactans found in brown, red and green algae, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. For adequate visualization, representations of all discussed molecules are given in both Haworth projections and 3D models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine-Derived Exopolysaccharides to Mimic Glycosaminoglycans)
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Open AccessReview Insight into the Genome of Staphylococcus xylosus, a Ubiquitous Species Well Adapted to Meat Products
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 52; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030052
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 21 August 2017 / Accepted: 25 August 2017 / Published: 29 August 2017
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Abstract
Staphylococcus xylosus belongs to the vast group of coagulase-negative staphylococci. It is frequently isolated from meat products, either fermented or salted and dried, and is commonly used as starter cultures in sausage manufacturing. Analysis of the S. xylosus genome together with expression in
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Staphylococcus xylosus belongs to the vast group of coagulase-negative staphylococci. It is frequently isolated from meat products, either fermented or salted and dried, and is commonly used as starter cultures in sausage manufacturing. Analysis of the S. xylosus genome together with expression in situ in a meat model revealed that this bacterium is well adapted to meat substrates, being able to use diverse substrates as sources of carbon and energy and different sources of nitrogen. It is well-equipped with genes involved in osmotic, oxidative/nitrosative, and acidic stress responses. It is responsible for the development of the typical colour of cured meat products via its nitrate reductase activity. It contributes to sensorial properties, mainly by the the catabolism of pyruvate and amino acids resulting in odorous compounds and by the limiting of the oxidation of fatty acids, thereby avoiding rancidity. Full article
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Open AccessReview Lactobacillus sakei: A Starter for Sausage Fermentation, a Protective Culture for Meat Products
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 56; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030056
Received: 19 July 2017 / Revised: 29 August 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
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Abstract
Among lactic acid bacteria of meat products, Lactobacillus sakei is certainly the most studied species due to its role in the fermentation of sausage and its prevalence during cold storage of raw meat products. Consequently, the physiology of this bacterium regarding functions involved
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Among lactic acid bacteria of meat products, Lactobacillus sakei is certainly the most studied species due to its role in the fermentation of sausage and its prevalence during cold storage of raw meat products. Consequently, the physiology of this bacterium regarding functions involved in growth, survival, and metabolism during meat storage and processing are well known. This species exhibits a wide genomic diversity that can be observed when studying different strains and on which probably rely its multiple facets in meat products: starter, spoiler, or protective culture. The emerging exploration of the microbial ecology of meat products also revealed the multiplicity of bacterial interactions L. sakei has to face and their various consequences on microbial quality and safety at the end of storage. Full article
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Open AccessReply Reply to the Comment on “Melanisation of Aspergillus terreus—Is Butyrolactone I Involved in the Regulation of Both DOPA and DHN Types of Pigments in Submerged Culture? Microorganisms 2017, 5, 22”
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 36; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030036
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 4 July 2017
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Filamentous Fungi in White Biotechnology)
Open AccessOpinion Should Research on the Nutritional Potential and Health Benefits of Fermented Cereals Focus More on the General Health Status of Populations in Developing Countries?
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 40; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030040
Received: 12 June 2017 / Revised: 18 July 2017 / Accepted: 23 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
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Abstract
Cereal foods fermented by lactic acid bacteria are staples in many countries around the world particularly in developing countries, but some aspects of the nutritional and health benefits of traditional fermented foods in developing countries have not been sufficiently investigated compared to fermented
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Cereal foods fermented by lactic acid bacteria are staples in many countries around the world particularly in developing countries, but some aspects of the nutritional and health benefits of traditional fermented foods in developing countries have not been sufficiently investigated compared to fermented foods in high-income countries. Today, malnutrition worldwide is characterized by a double burden, excess leading to non-communicable diseases like obesity or diabetes alongside micronutrient deficiencies. In addition, populations in developing countries suffer from infectious and parasitic diseases that can jeopardize the health benefits provided by their traditional fermented foods. Using examples, we argue that research on traditional fermented cereals in developing countries should focus more on their effect on inflammation and oxidative stress under conditions including infectious or non-infectious gut inflammation. Full article
Open AccessComment Comments to Article by Willetts A. et al., Microorganisms 2016, 4, 38
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 54; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030054
Received: 21 July 2017 / Revised: 8 August 2017 / Accepted: 1 September 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
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Abstract
We would like to comment on recent work published in your journal in October 2016 by Willetts A. et al. [1].[...] Full article
Open AccessReply Reply to the Comment by Littlechild and Isupov
Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 55; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030055
Received: 27 July 2017 / Revised: 9 August 2017 / Accepted: 1 September 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
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Abstract
I thank Drs. Littlechild and Isupov for their recent comments, which are considered below. Before addressing these specifically, their correspondence raises two more general issues which require initial clarification.[...] Full article

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