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Food Microbiol. 2015 Feb;45(Pt A):148-58. doi: 10.1016/

Reprint of 'Tracking the blue: a MLST approach to characterise the Pseudomonas fluorescens group'.

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Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science (University of Padova), Legnaro 35010, Padova, Italy.
Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science (University of Padova), Legnaro 35010, Padova, Italy. Electronic address:
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSve), Legnaro 35020, Padova, Italy.


The Pseudomonas fluorescens group comprises several closely related species that are involved in food contamination and spoilage. Specifically, the interest in P. fluorescens as a spoiler of dairy products increased after the cases of "blue mozzarella" that occurred in Italy in 2010. A Multilocus Sequence Typing (MLST) scheme was developed and applied to characterise 136 isolates (reference strains and food borne isolates) at strain level, to reveal the genetic relationships among them and to disclose any possible genetic clustering of phenotypic markers involved in food spoilage (protease, lipase, lecithinase activities and pigmented or fluorescent molecule production). The production of dark blue diffusible pigment was evaluated on several bacterial culture media and directly on mozzarella cheese. The MLST scheme provided precise genotyping at the strain level, and the population analyses of the concatenated sequences allowed major taxa to be defined. This approach was revealed to be suitable for tracking the strains according to their origin, such as dairy plants or food matrices. The genetic analysis revealed the presence of a connection between the blue pigment production and a specific phylogenetic cluster. The development of the online database specific to the P. fluorescens group ( will facilitate the application of the scheme and the sharing of the data.


Blue mozzarella; Food spoilage; Multilocus Sequence Typing; Pseudomonas fluorescens group


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