Genomic and metabolic characterization of spoilage-associated Pseudomonas species.

Abstract

Pseudomonas are common spoilage agents of aerobically stored fresh foods. Their ability to cause spoilage is species- and may be strain-specific. To improve our understanding of the meat and milk spoilage agents Pseudomonas fragi and Pseudomonas lundensis, we sequenced the genomes of 12 P. fragi and seven P. lundensis isolates. These genomes provided a dataset for genomic analyses. Key volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced or metabolised by the isolates were determined during their growth on a beef paste and where possible, metabolic activity was associated with gene repertoire. Genome analyses showed that the isolates included in this work may belong to more than two Pseudomonas species with possible spoilage potential. Pan-genome analyses demonstrated a high degree of diversity among the P. fragi and genetic flexibility and diversity may be traits of both species. Growth of the P. lundensis isolates was characterised by the production of large amounts of 1-undecene, 5-methyl-2-hexanone and methyl-2-butenoic acid. P. fragi isolates produced extensive amounts of methyl and ethyl acetate and the production of methyl esters predominated over ethyl esters. Some of the P. fragi produced extremely low levels of VOCs, highlighting the importance of strain-specific studies in food matrices. Furthermore, although usually not considered to be denitrifiers, all isolates generated molecular nitrogen, indicating that at least some steps of this pathway are intact.

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