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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Jul;76(14):4836-50. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00315-10. Epub 2010 May 28.

Transcriptomic and phenotypic responses of Listeria monocytogenes strains possessing different growth efficiencies under acidic conditions.

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Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research, University of Tasmania, Hobart 7001, Tasmania, Australia.


In an experiment delineating aciduric strains, food and clinical Listeria monocytogenes isolates tended to produce the most biomass whereas ovine and avian strains produced comparatively less biomass when exposed to high levels of sodium diacetate (SD) and potassium sorbate. Compared to reference strains that exhibited greater acid sensitivity, representative food isolates with comparatively good growth capacities in the presence of 21 mM SD at pH 5.0 accumulated reduced levels of acetate anion and K(+) ion. The aciduric nature of SD-resistant strains was also reflected by comparatively high tolerance to pH 2.4 (HCl) acid challenges, a property boosted by the presence of SD. Exposure to elevated levels of SD (21 mM SD at pH 5.0) was found to have broad effects on gene expression, as differentiated from effects caused by mildly acidic conditions (pH 5.0). SD-resistant strain FW04/0025 was more responsive to elevated SD, increasing the expression of 222 genes (>2-fold change [P < 0.05]), compared to the more sensitive EGD reference strain, which exhibited increases in expression of 112 genes. Key differences between the strains in relation to SD-enhanced transcripts were notably associated with the cell envelope, oxidative stress management, and intermediary metabolism. SD thus appears to differentially influence growth efficiency and survival of strains, under conditions relevant to acidic foods, that could be due to altered cell wall and metabolic phenotypes.

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