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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2010

Authors: Hilbert, F; Scherwitzel, M; Paulsen, P; Szostak, MP

Title: Survival of Campylobacter jejuni under conditions of atmospheric oxygen tension with the support of Pseudomonas spp.

Source: Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010; 76(17):5911-5917

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Hilbert Friederike
Paulsen Peter
Szostak Michael

Vetmed Research Units
Institute of Microbiology
Institute of Food Safety, Food Technology and Veterinary Public Health, Unit of Food Hygiene and Technology

Campylobacter jejuni is a major food-borne pathogen. Despite causing enteritis in humans, it is a well-adapted intestinal microorganism in animals, hardly ever generating disease symptoms. Nevertheless, as a true microaerophilic microorganism it is still puzzling how Campylobacter cells can survive on chicken meat, the main source of human infection. In this study, we demonstrate that C. jejuni is able to withstand conditions of atmospheric oxygen tension when cocultured with Pseudomonas species, major food-spoiling bacteria that are frequently found on chicken meat in rather high numbers. Using an in vitro survival assay, interactions of 145 C. jejuni wild-type strains and field isolates from chicken meat, broiler feces, and human clinical samples with type strains and food isolates of Pseudomonas spp., Proteus mirabilis, Citrobacter freundii, Micrococcus luteus, and Enterococcus faecalis were studied. When inoculated alone or in coculture with Proteus mirabilis, Citrobacter freundii, Micrococcus luteus, or Enterococcus faecalis type strains, Campylobacter cells were able to survive ambient oxygen levels for no more than 18 h. In contrast, Campylobacter bacteria inoculated with type strains or wild-type isolates of Pseudomonas showed a prolonged aerobic survival of up to >48 h. This microbial commensalism was diverse in C. jejuni isolates from different sources; isolates from chicken meat and humans in coculture with Pseudomonas putida were able to use this survival support better than fecal isolates from broilers. Scanning electron microscopy revealed the development of fiberlike structures braiding P. putida and C. jejuni cells. Hence, it seems that microaerophilic C. jejuni is able to survive ambient atmospheric oxygen tension by metabolic commensalism with Pseudomonas spp. This bacterium-bacterium interaction might set the basis for survival of C. jejuni on chicken meat and thus be the prerequisite step in the pathway toward human infection.

Keywords Pubmed: Aerobiosis
Bacterial Proteins/genetics
Campylobacter jejuni/drug effects*
Campylobacter jejuni/growth & development
Campylobacter jejuni/isolation & purification
Campylobacter jejuni/physiology*
Citrobacter freundii
DNA, Bacterial/chemistry
DNA, Bacterial/genetics
Enterococcus faecalis
Microbial Viability*
Micrococcus luteus
Molecular Sequence Data
Proteus mirabilis
Pseudomonas putida/growth & development
Pseudomonas putida/metabolism
Pseudomonas putida/physiology*
Sequence Analysis, DNA

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