Leafy green vegetables have been identified as a source of foodborne illnesses worldwide over the past decade. Human enteric pathogens, such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella, have been implicated in numerous food poisoning outbreaks associated with the consumption of fresh produce. An understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the establishment of pathogenic bacteria in or on vegetable plants is critical for understanding and ameliorating this problem as well as ensuring the safety of our food supply. While previous studies have described the growth and survival of enteric pathogens in the environment and also the risk factors associated with the contamination of vegetables, the molecular events involved in the colonization of fresh produce by enteric pathogens are just beginning to be elucidated. This review summarizes recent findings on the interactions of several bacterial pathogens with leafy green vegetables. Changes in gene expression linked to the bacterial attachment and colonization of plant structures are discussed in light of their relevance to plant-microbe interactions. We propose a mechanism for the establishment and association of enteric pathogens with plants and discuss potential strategies to address the problem of foodborne illness linked to the consumption of leafy green vegetables.
The emergence of multiple-antibiotic-resistance bacteria is increasing, which is a particular concern on livestock farms. We previously isolated 1,347 antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) Escherichia coli strains from the feces of beef cattle on 14 Japanese farms. In the present study, the genetic backgrounds and phylogenetic relationships of 45 AMR isolates were characterized by the chromosome phylotype, AMR phenotype, AMR genotype, and plasmid type. These isolates were classified into five chromosome phylotypes, which were closely linked to the farms from which they were isolated, suggesting that each farm had its own E. coli phylotype. AMR phenotype and plasmid type analyses yielded 8 and 14 types, all of which were associated with the chromosomal phylotype and, thus, to the original farms. AMR genotype analysis revealed more variety, with 16 types, indicating both inter- and intra-farm diversity. Different phylotype isolates from the same farm shared highly similar plasmid types, which indicated that plasmids with AMR genes could be transferred between phylotypes, thereby generating multi-antibiotic-resistant microorganisms. This ecological study demonstrated that the chromosome phylotype was strongly correlated with the farm from which they were isolated, while the AMR phenotype, genotype, and plasmid type were generally correlated with the chromosome phylotype and farm source.
The relationship between the bacterial communities in anolyte and anode biofilms and the electrochemical properties of microbial fuel cells (MFCs) was investigated when a complex organic waste-decomposing solution was continuously supplied to MFCs as an electron donor. The current density increased gradually and was maintained at approximately 100 to 150 mA m−2. Polarization curve analyses revealed that the maximum power density was 7.4 W m−3 with an internal resistance of 110 Ω. Bacterial community structures in the organic waste-decomposing solution and MFCs differed from each other. Clonal analyses targeting 16S rRNA genes indicated that bacterial communities in the biofilms on MFCs developed to specific communities dominated by novel Geobacter. Multidimensional scaling analyses based on DGGE profiles revealed that bacterial communities in the organic waste-decomposing solution fluctuated and had no dynamic equilibrium. Bacterial communities on the anolyte in MFCs had a dynamic equilibrium with fluctuations, while those of the biofilm converged to the Geobacter-dominated structure. These bacterial community dynamics of MFCs differed from those of control-MFCs under open circuit conditions. These results suggested that bacterial communities in the anolyte and biofilm have a gentle symbiotic system through electron flow, which resulted in the advance of current density from complex organic waste.
Metagenomic screening and conventional cultivation have been used to exploit microbial lipolytic enzymes in nature. We used an indigenous forest soil (NS) and oil-fed enriched soil (OS) as microbial and genetic resources. Thirty-four strains (17 each) of lipolytic bacteria were isolated from the NS and OS microcosms. These isolates were classified into the (sub)phyla Betaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Actinobacteria, all of which are known to be the main microbial resources of commercially available lipolytic enzymes. Seven and 39 lipolytic enzymes were successfully retrieved from the metagenomic libraries of the NS and OS microcosms, respectively. The screening efficiency (a ratio of positive lipolytic clones to the total number of environmental clones) was markedly higher in the OS microcosm than in the NS microcosm. Moreover, metagenomic clones encoding the lipolytic enzymes associated with Alphaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Armatimonadetes, and Planctomycetes and hitherto-uncultivated microbes were recovered from these libraries. The results of the present study indicate that functional metagenomics can be effectively used to capture as yet undiscovered lipolytic enzymes that have eluded the cultivation-based method, and these combined approaches may be able to provide an overview of lipolytic organisms potentially present in nature.
The inhibitory effects of ammonia on two different degradation pathways of methanogenic acetate were evaluated using a pure culture (Methanosaeta thermophila strain PT) and defined co-culture (Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus strain TM and Thermacetogenium phaeum strain PB), which represented aceticlastic and syntrophic methanogenesis, respectively. Growth experiments with high concentrations of ammonia clearly demonstrated that sensitivity to ammonia stress was markedly higher in M. thermophila PT than in the syntrophic co-culture. M. thermophila PT also exhibited higher sensitivity to high pH stress, which indicated that an inability to maintain pH homeostasis is an underlying cause of ammonia inhibition. Methanogenesis was inhibited in the resting cells of M. thermophila PT with moderate concentrations of ammonia, suggesting that the inhibition of enzymes involved in methanogenesis may be one of the major factors responsible for ammonia toxicity. Transcriptomic analysis revealed a broad range of disturbances in M. thermophila PT cells under ammonia stress conditions, including protein denaturation, oxidative stress, and intracellular cation imbalances. The results of the present study clearly demonstrated that syntrophic acetate degradation dominated over aceticlastic methanogenesis under ammonia stress conditions, which is consistent with the findings of previous studies on complex microbial community systems. Our results also imply that the co-existence of multiple metabolic pathways and their different sensitivities to stress factors confer resiliency on methanogenic processes.
The suppressive potentials of Bacillus and Paenibacillus strains isolated from the tomato phyllosphere were investigated to obtain new biocontrol candidates against Fusarium crown and root rot of tomato. The suppressive activities of 20 bacterial strains belonging to these genera were examined using seedlings and potted tomato plants, and two Paenibacillus strains (12HD2 and 42NP7) were selected as biocontrol candidates against the disease. These two strains suppressed the disease in the field experiment. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that the treated bacterial cells colonized the root surface, and when the roots of the seedlings were treated with strain 42NP7 cells, the cell population was maintained on the roots for at least for 4 weeks. Although the bacterial strains had no direct antifungal activity against the causal pathogen in vitro, an increase was observed in the antifungal activities of acetone extracts from tomato roots treated with the cells of both bacterial strains. Furthermore, RT-PCR analysis verified that the expression of defense-related genes was induced in both the roots and leaves of seedlings treated with the bacterial cells. Thus, the root-colonized cells of the two Paenibacillus strains were considered to induce resistance in tomato plants, which resulted in the suppression of the disease.
Trichophyton ajelloi is a geophilic dermatophyte that specializes in the decomposition of native keratin. It exists in soil with a permanent influx of keratin matter. In the present study, two PCR-based methods were used for the identification and intra-species differentiation of T. ajelloi strains isolated from 3 types of soils with different physicochemical properties. The first method, employed for molecular identification, was PCR amplification of the 5.8S rRNA gene and its flanking regions encoding internal transcribed spacers (ITSs), followed by restriction enzyme digestion using endonuclease HinfI. The second method, employed for molecular differentiation, was microsatellite-primed PCR (MSP-PCR) using the repetitive oligonucleotide (GACA)4. All the T. ajelloi strains were also identified using a traditional culture method. Our results showed that molecular identification using the PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method agreed with the identification made using the traditional approach. On the other hand, PCR-RFLP results showed no strain differentiation, while MSP-PCR using the (GACA)4 primer identified different varieties among the T. ajelloi strains. The reasons for the intra-species differentiation of T. ajelloi have been discussed.
The effects of free-air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) and elevated soil and water temperature (warming) on the rice root–associated bacterial community were evaluated by clone library analysis of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene. Roots were sampled at the panicle initiation and ripening stages 41 and 92 days after transplanting (DAT), respectively. The relative abundances of the methanotrophs Methylosinus and Methylocystis were increased by warming and decreased by FACE at 92 DAT, which indicated that microbial methane (CH4) oxidation in rice roots may have been influenced by global warming. The relative abundance of Burkholderia kururiensis was increased by warming at 41 DAT and by FACE or warming at 92 DAT. The abundances of methanotrophs increased during rice growth, which was likely induced by an enhancement in the emission of CH4 from the paddy fields, suggesting that CH4 is one of the predominant factors affecting the structure of the microbial community in rice roots. Marked variations in the community structure were also observed during rice growth in other genera: Bradyrhizobium, Clostridium, and an unknown genus close to Epsilonproteobacteria were abundant at 92 DAT, whereas Achromobacter was abundant at 41 DAT. These results demonstrated that the community structures of rice root-associated bacteria were markedly affected by FACE, temperature, and the rice growth stage.
To identify the microorganisms involved in benzene degradation, DNA-stable isotope probing (SIP) with 13C-benzene was applied to a methanogenic benzene-degrading enrichment culture. Pyrosequencing of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequences revealed that the community structure was highly complex in spite of a 3-year incubation only with benzene. The culture degraded 98% of approximately 1 mM 13C-benzene and mineralized 72% of that within 63 d. The terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) profiles of the buoyant density fractions revealed the incorporation of 13C into two phylotypes after 64 d. These two phylotypes were determined to be Desulfobacterales- and Coriobacteriaceae-related bacteria by cloning and sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene in the 13C-labeled DNA abundant fraction. Comparative pyrosequencing analysis of the buoyant density fractions of 12C- and 13C-labeled samples indicated the incorporation of 13C into three bacterial and one archaeal OTUs related to Desulfobacterales, Coriobacteriales, Rhodocyclaceae, and Methanosarcinales. The first two OTUs included the bacteria detected by T-RFLP-cloning-sequencing analysis. Furthermore, time-resolved SIP analysis confirmed that the activity of all these microbes appeared at the earliest stage of degradation. In this methanogenic culture, Desulfobacterales- and Coriobacteriaceae-related bacteria were most likely to be the major benzene degraders.
Fusarium oxysporum is an ascomycetous fungus that is well-known as a soilborne plant pathogen. In addition, a large population of nonpathogenic F. oxysporum (NPF) inhabits various environmental niches, including the phytosphere. To obtain an insight into the origin of plant pathogenic F. oxysporum, we focused on the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and its pathogenic F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici (FOL). We collected F. oxysporum from wild and transition Solanum spp. and modern cultivars of tomato in Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Afghanistan, Italy, and Japan, evaluated the fungal isolates for pathogenicity, VCG, mating type, and distribution of SIX genes related to the pathogenicity of FOL, and constructed phylogenies based on ribosomal DNA intergenic spacer sequences. All F. oxysporum isolates sampled were genetically more diverse than FOL. They were not pathogenic to the tomato and did not carry SIX genes. Certain NPF isolates including those from wild Solanum spp. in Peru were grouped in FOL clades, whereas most of the NPF isolates were not. Our results suggested that the population of NPF isolates in FOL clades gave rise to FOL by gaining pathogenicity.
A total of 118 actinobacterial isolates were collected from the three types of termite nests (mound, carton, and subterranean nests) to evaluate their potential as a source of bioactive actinobacteria with antimicrobial activity. The highest number (67 isolates) and generic abundance (7 known genera) of actinobacterial isolates were obtained from carton nests. Streptomyces was the dominant genus in each type of termite nest. In the non-Streptomyces group, Nocardia was the dominant genus detected in mound and carton nests, while Pseudonocardia was the dominant genus in subterranean nests. A discovery trend of novel species (<99% similarity in the 16S rRNA gene sequence) was also observed in the termite nests examined. Each type of termite nest housed >20% of bioactive actinobacteria that could inhibit the growth of at least one test organism, while 12 isolates, belonging to the genera Streptomyces, Amycolatopsis, Pseudonocardia, Micromonospora and Nocardia, exhibited distinct antimicrobial activities. Streptomyces sp. CMU-NKS-3 was the most distinct bioactive isolate. It was closely related to S. padanus MITKK-103T, which was confirmed by 99% similarities in their 16S rRNA gene sequences. The highest level of extracellular antimicrobial substances was produced by the isolate CMU-NKS-3, which was grown in potato dextrose broth and exhibited a wide range (6.10×10−4–1.25 mg mL−1) of minimum inhibitory concentrations against diverse pathogens. We concluded that termite nests are an abundant source of bioactive strains of cultivable actinobacteria for future biotechnological needs.
The partial sequences of the 16S rRNA genes of 531 bacteria isolated from the main root of the sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) were determined and subsequently grouped into 155 operational taxonomic units by clustering analysis (≥99% identity). The most abundant phylum was Proteobacteria (72.5–77.2%), followed by Actinobacteria (9.8–16.6%) and Bacteroidetes (4.3– 15.4%). Alphaproteobacteria (46.7–64.8%) was the most dominant class within Proteobacteria. Four strains belonging to Verrucomicrobia were also isolated. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the Verrucomicrobia bacterial strains were closely related to Haloferula or Verrucomicrobium.
Pantothenol is a provitamin of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) that is widely used in healthcare and cosmetic products. This analog of pantothenate has been shown to markedly inhibit the phosphorylation activity of the prokaryotic type II pantothenate kinase of Staphylococcus aureus, which catalyzes the first step of the coenzyme A biosynthetic pathway. Since type II enzymes are found exclusively in staphylococci, pantothenol suppresses the growth of S. aureus, S. epidermidis, and S. saprophyticus, which inhabit the skin of humans. Therefore, the addition of this provitamin to ointment and skincare products may be highly effective in preventing infections by opportunistic pathogens.
The addition of ferrihydrite to methanogenic microbial communities obtained from a thermophilic anaerobic digester suppressed methanogenesis in a dose-dependent manner. The amount of reducing equivalents consumed by the reduction of iron was significantly smaller than that expected from the decrease in the production of CH4, which suggested that competition between iron-reducing microorganisms and methanogens was not the most significant cause for the suppression of methanogenesis. Microbial community analyses revealed that the presence of ferrihydrite markedly affected the bacterial composition, but not the archaeal composition. These results indicate that the presence of ferrihydrite directly and indirectly suppresses thermophilic methanogenesis.
The impact of a urea-formaldehyde (UF) fertilizer on bacterial diversity in onion bulbs and main roots of sugar beet were examined using a 16S rRNA gene clone library. The UF fertilizer markedly increased bacterial diversity in both plants. The results of principal coordinates analysis (PCoA) revealed that nearly 30% of the variance observed in bacterial diversity in both the onion and sugar beet was attributed to the fertilization conditions and also that the community structures in both plants shifted unidirectionally in response to the UF fertilizer.
Volume 25, no. 2, Page 95–102, 2010
Page 98, column 2, line 28 from the top, ‘The N-terminal amino acid sequence of the protein was determined as IPDELYEALGVDKYKASPKE. The sequence was identical to the deduced sequence of the 31st to 50th residues of the HAO precursor encoded in the noc_0892 gene of the N. oceani ATCC19707’ should read ‘The N-terminal amino acid sequence of the protein was determined as DIPDELYEALGVDKYKASPK. The sequence was identical to the deduced sequence of the 30th to 49th residues of the HAO precursor encoded in the noc_0892 gene of the N. oceani ATCC19707’.