• Bacteriocin-Antimicrobial Synergy: A Medical and Food Perspective

      Mathur, Harsh; Field, Des; Rea, Mary C.; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273 (Frontiers, 29/06/2017)
      The continuing emergence of multi-drug resistant pathogens has sparked an interest in seeking alternative therapeutic options. Antimicrobial combinatorial therapy is one such avenue. A number of studies have been conducted, involving combinations of bacteriocins with other antimicrobials, to circumvent the development of antimicrobial resistance and/or increase antimicrobial potency. Such bacteriocin-antimicrobial combinations could have tremendous value, in terms of reducing the likelihood of resistance development due to the involvement of two distinct mechanisms of antimicrobial action. Furthermore, antimicrobial synergistic interactions may also have potential financial implications in terms of decreasing the costs of treatment by reducing the concentration of an expensive antimicrobial and utilizing it in combination with an inexpensive one. In addition, combinatorial therapies with bacteriocins can broaden antimicrobial spectra and/or result in a reduction in the concentration of an antibiotic required for effective treatments to the extent that potentially toxic or adverse side effects can be reduced or eliminated. Here, we review studies in which bacteriocins were found to be effective in combination with other antimicrobials, with a view to targeting clinical and/or food-borne pathogens. Furthermore, we discuss some of the bottlenecks which are currently hindering the development of bacteriocins as viable therapeutic options, as well as addressing the need to exercise caution when attempting to predict clinical outcomes of bacteriocin-antimicrobial combinations.
    • Bacteriocins: Novel Solutions to Age Old Spore-Related Problems?

      Egan, Kevin; Field, Des; Rea, Mary C.; Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland; DAFM 13/F/462; TIDA 14/TIDA/2286; 11/PI/1137; SFI/12/RC/2273 (Frontiers Media S. A., 08/04/2016)
      Bacteriocins are ribosomally synthesized antimicrobial peptides produced by bacteria, which have the ability to kill or inhibit other bacteria. Many bacteriocins are produced by food grade lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Indeed, the prototypic bacteriocin, nisin, is produced by Lactococcus lactis, and is licensed in over 50 countries. With consumers becoming more concerned about the levels of chemical preservatives present in food, bacteriocins offer an alternative, more natural approach, while ensuring both food safety and product shelf life. Bacteriocins also show additive/synergistic effects when used in combination with other treatments, such as heating, high pressure, organic compounds, and as part of food packaging. These features are particularly attractive from the perspective of controlling sporeforming bacteria. Bacterial spores are common contaminants of food products, and their outgrowth may cause food spoilage or food-borne illness. They are of particular concern to the food industry due to their thermal and chemical resistance in their dormant state. However, when spores germinate they lose the majority of their resistance traits, making them susceptible to a variety of food processing treatments. Bacteriocins represent one potential treatment as they may inhibit spores in the post-germination/outgrowth phase of the spore cycle. Spore eradication and control in food is critical, as they are able to spoil and in certain cases compromise the safety of food by producing dangerous toxins. Thus, understanding the mechanisms by which bacteriocins exert their sporostatic/sporicidal activity against bacterial spores will ultimately facilitate their optimal use in food. This review will focus on the use of bacteriocins alone, or in combination with other innovative processing methods to control spores in food, the current knowledge and gaps therein with regard to bacteriocin-spore interactions and discuss future research approaches to enable spores to be more effectively targeted by bacteriocins in food settings.
    • Bactofencin A, a New Type of Cationic Bacteriocin with Unusual Immunity

      O'Shea, Eileen F.; O'Connor, Paula M.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Cotter, Paul D.; Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland; 04R; 07/CE/B1368 (American Society for Microbiology, 29/10/2013)
      Bacteriocin production is an important probiotic trait of intestinal bacteria. In this study, we identify a new type of bacteriocin, bactofencin A, produced by a porcine intestinal isolate Lactobacillus salivarius DPC6502, and assess its potency against pathogenic species including Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. Genome sequencing of the bacteriocin producer revealed bfnA, which encodes the mature and highly basic (pI 10.59), 22-amino-acid defensin-like peptide. Matrixassisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectral analysis determined that bactofencin A has a molecular mass of 2,782 Da and contains two cysteine residues that form an intramolecular disulfide bond. Although an ABC transporter and transport accessory protein were also present within the bacteriocin gene cluster, a classical bacteriocin immunity gene was not detected. Interestingly, a dltB homologue was identified downstream of bfnA. DltB is usually encoded within the dlt operon of many Gram-positive bacteria. It is responsible for D-alanylation of teichoic acids in the cell wall and has previously been associated with bacterial resistance to cationic antimicrobial peptides. Heterologous expression of this gene conferred bactofencin A-specific immunity on sensitive strains of L. salivarius and S. aureus (although not L. monocytogenes), establishing its role in bacteriocin immunity. An analysis of the distribution of bfnA revealed that it was present in four additional isolates derived from porcine origin and absent from five human isolates, suggesting that its distribution is host specific. Given its novelty, we anticipate that bactofencin A represents the prototype of a new class of bacteriocins characterized as being cationic, with a DltB homologue providing a cognate immunity function.
    • Beneficial modulation of the gut microbiota

      Walsh, Calum J.; Guinane, Caitriona M.; O'Toole, Paul W.; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; 11/PI/1137 (Elsevier, 26/03/2014)
      The human gut microbiota comprises approximately 100 trillion microbial cells and has a significant effect on many aspects of human physiology including metabolism, nutrient absorption and immune function. Disruption of this population has been implicated in many conditions and diseases, including examples such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer that are highlighted in this review. A logical extension of these observations suggests that the manipulation of the gut microbiota can be employed to prevent or treat these conditions. Thus, here we highlight a variety of options, including the use of changes in diet (including the use of prebiotics), antimicrobial-based intervention, probiotics and faecal microbiota transplantation, and discuss their relative merits with respect to modulating the intestinal community in a beneficial way.
    • Benzimidazole carbamate residues in milk: Detection by Surface Plasmon Resonance-biosensor, using a modified QuEChERS (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged and Safe) method for extraction

      Keegan, Jemma; Whelan, Michelle; Danaher, Martin; Crooks, Steven; Sayers, Riona; Anastasio, Aniello; Elliott, Chrtistopher; Brandon, David; Furey, Ambrose; O'Kennedy, Richard (Elsevier, 2009-09-26)
      A surface plasmon resonance (SPR) biosensor screening assay was developed and validated to detect 11 benzimidazole carbamate (BZT) veterinary drug residues in milk. The polyclonal antibody used was raised in sheep against a methyl 5(6)-[(carboxypentyl)-thio]-2-benzimidazole carbamate protein conjugate. A sample preparation procedure was developed using a modified QuEChERS method. BZT residues were extracted from milk using liquid extraction/partition with a dispersive solid phase extraction clean-up step. The assay was validated in accordance with the performance criteria described in 2002/657/EC. The limit of detection of the assay was calculated from the analysis of 20 known negative milk samples to be 2.7 μg kg−1. The detection capability (CCβ) of the assay was determined to be 5 μg kg−1 for 11 benzimidazole residues and the mean recovery of analytes was in the range 81–116%. A comparison was made between the SPR-biosensor and UPLC–MS/MS analyses of milk samples (n = 26) taken from cows treated different benzimidazole products, demonstrating the SPR-biosensor assay to be fit for purpose.
    • Bifidobacterium breve with α-Linolenic Acid and Linoleic Acid Alters Fatty Acid Metabolism in the Maternal Separation Model of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

      Barrett, Eoin; Fitzgerald, Patrick; Dinan, Timothy G.; Cryan, John F.; Ross, R Paul; Quigley, Eamonn M.; Shanahan, Fergus; Kiely, Barry; Fitzgerald, Gerald F.; O'Toole, Paul W.; Stanton, Catherine; Science Foundation Ireland (PLOS, 20/11/2012)
      The aim of this study was to compare the impact of dietary supplementation with a Bifidobacterium breve strain together with linoleic acid & α-linolenic acid, for 7 weeks, on colonic sensitivity and fatty acid metabolism in rats. Maternally separated and non-maternally separated Sprague Dawley rats (n = 15) were orally gavaged with either B. breve DPC6330 (109 microorganisms/day) alone or in combination with 0.5% (w/w) linoleic acid & 0.5% (w/w) α-linolenic acid, daily for 7 weeks and compared with trehalose and bovine serum albumin. Tissue fatty acid composition was assessed by gas-liquid chromatography and visceral hypersensitivity was assessed by colorectal distension. Significant differences in the fatty acid profiles of the non-separated controls and maternally separated controls were observed for α-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid in the liver, oleic acid and eicosenoic acid (c11) in adipose tissue, and for palmitoleic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in serum (p<0.05). Administration of B. breve DPC6330 to MS rats significantly increased palmitoleic acid, arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in the liver, eicosenoic acid (c11) in adipose tissue and palmitoleic acid in the prefrontal cortex (p<0.05), whereas feeding B. breve DPC6330 to non separated rats significantly increased eicosapentaenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acid in serum (p<0.05) compared with the NS un-supplemented controls. Administration of B. breve DPC6330 in combination with linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid to maternally separated rats significantly increased docosapentaenoic acid in the serum (p<0.01) and α-linolenic acid in adipose tissue (p<0.001), whereas feeding B. breve DPC6330 with fatty acid supplementation to non-separated rats significantly increased liver and serum docosapentaenoic acid (p<0.05), and α-linolenic acid in adipose tissue (p<0.001). B. breve DPC6330 influenced host fatty acid metabolism. Administration of B. breve DPC6330 to maternally separated rats significantly modified the palmitoleic acid, arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid contents in tissues. The effect was not observed in non-separated animals.
    • Bile acids at the cross-roads of gut microbiome–host cardiometabolic interactions

      Ryan, Paul M; Stanton, Catherine; Caplice, Noel M; Science Foundation Ireland; Enterprise Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; CF/2013/3030A/B (Biomed Central, 28/12/2017)
      While basic and clinical research over the last several decades has recognized a number of modifiable risk factors associated with cardiometabolic disease progression, additional and alternative biological perspectives may offer novel targets for prevention and treatment of this disease set. There is mounting preclinical and emerging clinical evidence indicating that the mass of metabolically diverse microorganisms which inhabit the human gastrointestinal tract may be implicated in initiation and modulation of cardiovascular and metabolic disease outcomes. The following review will discuss this gut microbiome–host metabolism axis and address newly proposed bile-mediated signaling pathways through which dysregulation of this homeostatic axis may influence host cardiovascular risk. With a central focus on the major nuclear and membrane-bound bile acid receptor ligands, we aim to review the putative impact of microbial bile acid modification on several major phenotypes of metabolic syndrome, from obesity to heart failure. Finally, attempting to synthesize several separate but complementary hypotheses, we will review current directions in preclinical and clinical investigation in this evolving field.
    • Bioactivity in Whey Proteins Influencing Energy Balance

      McAllan, Liam; Cotter, Paul D.; Roche, Helen M.; Korpela, Riitta; Nilaweera, Kanishka N. (OMICS Publishing Group, 30/03/2012)
      Obesity develops due to energy (food) intake exceeding energy expenditure. Nutrients that reduce the positive energy balance are thus being considered as therapies to combat obesity. Here, we review the literature related to the physiological, cellular and endocrine effects of intake of whey proteins, namely α-lactalbumin, β-lactoglobulin, glycomacropeptide and lactoferrin. Moreover, we discuss how dietary composition and obesity may influence whey protein effects on the above parameters. Evidence suggests that intake of whey proteins causes a decrease in energy intake, increase in energy expenditure, influence insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis and alter lipid metabolism in the adipose, liver and muscle. These physiological changes are accompanied by alterations in the plasma levels of energy balance related hormones (cholecystokinin, ghrelin, insulin and glucagon-like peptide-1) and the expression of catabolic and anabolic genes in the above tissue in the direction to cause a negative energy balance.
    • Bioactivity of beta-lactoglobulin and alpha-lactalbumin-Technological implications for processing

      Chatterton, Dereck E.W.; Smithers, Geoffrey; Roupas, Peter; Brodkorb, Andre (Elsevier, 17/08/2006)
      The dairy industry faces new technological challenges in order to exploit and maintain some of the bioactive properties of dairy components throughout processing. This review outlines these issues with respect to the two major whey proteins β-lactoglobulin (β-lg) and α-lactalbumin (α-la). Biological activities of both the intact proteins, and peptides derived from the proteins, are discussed e.g. inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), anti-microbial activity, anti-carcinogenic activity, hypocholesterolemic effect, metabolic and physiological effects. The levels necessary to provide beneficial effects and, if available, evidence from clinical trials are reported. Developments in the purification and enrichment of the proteins are discussed, and the technological implications of industrial processing on the bio-activity of the proteins are examined. The supplementation of infant formulas with α-lactalbumin enriched whey proteins is also discussed in light of its potentially improved bioactive properties.
    • Biochemical and physical indicators of beef quality

      Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 1999-03)
      Beef of a consistent quality is required by the meat industry in order to maintain and expand markets. Measurement of beef quality is difficult at factory level. Measurements to indicate the final eating quality are not well developed yet. This project examined novel approaches to this problem using biochemical and physical methods. The Biochemical indicators of beef quality examined included: pH , Protease activity as a potential indicator of meat tenderness, Cathepsin B and cathepsin B&L activities in relation to beef ageing, Relationship between cathepsin B and cathepsin B&L activity and WBSF values, Protein fragments as an indication of beef tenderness and Myofibrillar proteins. The Physical indicators of beef quality examined included: Post-mortem changes in muscle electrical properties and their relationship to meat quality attributes, Near infrared reflectance spectra as indicators of beef quality, Shear force as an indicator of tenderness.
    • Bioengineered Nisin A Derivatives with Enhanced Activity against Both Gram Positive and Gram Negative Pathogens

      Field, Des; Begley, Maire; O'Connor, Paula M.; Daly, Karen M.; Hugenholtz, Floor; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; 10/IN.1/B3027; 06/IN.1/B98 (PLOS, 08/10/2012)
      Nisin is a bacteriocin widely utilized in more than 50 countries as a safe and natural antibacterial food preservative. It is the most extensively studied bacteriocin, having undergone decades of bioengineering with a view to improving function and physicochemical properties. The discovery of novel nisin variants with enhanced activity against clinical and foodborne pathogens has recently been described. We screened a randomized bank of nisin A producers and identified a variant with a serine to glycine change at position 29 (S29G), with enhanced efficacy against S. aureus SA113. Using a site-saturation mutagenesis approach we generated three more derivatives (S29A, S29D and S29E) with enhanced activity against a range of Gram positive drug resistant clinical, veterinary and food pathogens. In addition, a number of the nisin S29 derivatives displayed superior antimicrobial activity to nisin A when assessed against a range of Gram negative food-associated pathogens, including E. coli, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Cronobacter sakazakii. This is the first report of derivatives of nisin, or indeed any lantibiotic, with enhanced antimicrobial activity against both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria.
    • A Bioengineered Nisin Derivative to Control Biofilms of Staphylococcus pseudintermedius

      Field, Des; Gaudin, Noemie; Lyons, Francy; O'Connor, Paula M.; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; 10/IN.1/B3027 (PLoS, 19/03/2015)
      Antibiotic resistance and the shortage of novel antimicrobials are among the biggest challenges facing society. One of the major factors contributing to resistance is the use of frontline clinical antibiotics in veterinary practice. In order to properly manage dwindling antibiotic resources, we must identify antimicrobials that are specifically targeted to veterinary applications. Nisin is a member of the lantibiotic family of antimicrobial peptides that exhibit potent antibacterial activity against many gram-positive bacteria, including human and animal pathogens such as Staphylococcus, Bacillus, Listeria, and Clostridium. Although not currently used in human medicine, nisin is already employed commercially as an anti-mastitis product in the veterinary field. Recently we have used bioengineering strategies to enhance the activity of nisin against several high profile targets, including multi-drug resistant clinical pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and also against staphylococci and streptococci associated with bovine mastitis. However, newly emerging pathogens such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) pose a significant threat in terms of veterinary health and as a reservoir for antibiotic resistance determinants. In this study we created a nisin derivative with enhanced antimicrobial activity against S. pseudintermedius. In addition, the novel nisin derivative exhibits an enhanced ability to impair biofilm formation and to reduce the density of established biofilms. The activities of this peptide represent a significant improvement over that of the wild-type nisin peptide and merit further investigation with a view to their use to treat S. pseudintermedius infections.
    • A Bioengineered Nisin Derivative, M21A, in Combination with Food Grade Additives Eradicates Biofilms of Listeria monocytogenes

      Smith, Muireann K.; Draper, Lorraine A.; Hazelhoff, Pieter-Jan; Cotter, Paul D; Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273 (Frontiers, 30/11/2016)
      The burden of foodborne disease has large economic and social consequences worldwide. Despite strict regulations, a number of pathogens persist within the food environment, which is greatly contributed to by a build-up of resistance mechanisms and also through the formation of biofilms. Biofilms have been shown to be highly resistant to a number of antimicrobials and can be extremely difficult to remove once they are established. In parallel, the growing concern of consumers regarding the use of chemically derived antimicrobials within food has led to a drive toward more natural products. As a consequence, the use of naturally derived antimicrobials has become of particular interest. In this study we investigated the efficacy of nisin A and its bioengineered derivative M21A in combination with food grade additives to treat biofilms of a representative foodborne disease isolate of Listeria monocytogenes. Investigations revealed the enhanced antimicrobial effects, in liquid culture, of M21A in combination with citric acid or cinnamaldehyde over its wild type nisin A counterpart. Subsequently, an investigation was conducted into the effects of these combinations on an established biofilm of the same strain. Nisin M21A (0.1 μg/ml) alone or in combination with cinnamaldehyde (35 μg/ml) or citric acid (175 μg/ml) performed significantly better than combinations involving nisin A. All combinations of M21A with either citric acid or cinnamaldehyde eradicated the L. monocytogenes biofilm (in relation to a non-biofilm control). We conclude that M21A in combination with available food additives could further enhance the antimicrobial treatment of biofilms within the food industry, simply by substituting nisin A with M21A in current commercial products such as Nisaplin® (Danisco, DuPont).
    • Bioengineering Lantibiotics for Therapeutic Success

      Field, Des; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; TIDA14/TIDA/2286; 10/IN.1/B3027; 11/PI/1137; SFI/12/RC/2273 (Frontiers Media S. A., 2015-11)
      Several examples of highly modified antimicrobial peptides have been described. While many such peptides are non-ribosomally synthesized, ribosomally synthesized equivalents are being discovered with increased frequency. Of the latter group, the lantibiotics continue to attract most attention. In the present review, we discuss the implementation of in vivo and in vitro engineering systems to alter, and even enhance, the antimicrobial activity, antibacterial spectrum and physico-chemical properties, including heat stability, solubility, diffusion and protease resistance, of these compounds. Additionally, we discuss the potential applications of these lantibiotics for use as therapeutics.
    • Biotechnological applications of functional metagenomics in the food and pharmaceutical industries

      Coughlan, Laura M.; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Alvarez-Ordonez, Avelino; Science Foundation Ireland; 13/SIRG/2157 (Frontiers Media S. A., 30/06/2015)
      Microorganisms are found throughout nature, thriving in a vast range of environmental conditions. The majority of them are unculturable or difficult to culture by traditional methods. Metagenomics enables the study of all microorganisms, regardless of whether they can be cultured or not, through the analysis of genomic data obtained directly from an environmental sample, providing knowledge of the species present, and allowing the extraction of information regarding the functionality of microbial communities in their natural habitat. Function-based screenings, following the cloning and expression of metagenomic DNA in a heterologous host, can be applied to the discovery of novel proteins of industrial interest encoded by the genes of previously inaccessible microorganisms. Functional metagenomics has considerable potential in the food and pharmaceutical industries, where it can, for instance, aid (i) the identification of enzymes with desirable technological properties, capable of catalyzing novel reactions or replacing existing chemically synthesized catalysts which may be difficult or expensive to produce, and able to work under a wide range of environmental conditions encountered in food and pharmaceutical processing cycles including extreme conditions of temperature, pH, osmolarity, etc; (ii) the discovery of novel bioactives including antimicrobials active against microorganisms of concern both in food and medical settings; (iii) the investigation of industrial and societal issues such as antibiotic resistance development. This review article summarizes the state-of-the-art functional metagenomic methods available and discusses the potential of functional metagenomic approaches to mine as yet unexplored environments to discover novel genes with biotechnological application in the food and pharmaceutical industries.
    • Bovine proteins containing poly-glutamine repeats are often polymorphic and enriched for components of transcriptional regulatory complexes

      Whan, Vicki; Hobbs, Matthew; McWilliam, Sean; Lynn, David J; Lutzow, Ylva S; Khatkar, Mehar; Barendse, William; Raadsma, Herman; Tellam, Ross L; Dairy Australia (Biomed Central, 23/11/2010)
      Background: About forty human diseases are caused by repeat instability mutations. A distinct subset of these diseases is the result of extreme expansions of polymorphic trinucleotide repeats; typically CAG repeats encoding poly-glutamine (poly-Q) tracts in proteins. Polymorphic repeat length variation is also apparent in human poly-Q encoding genes from normal individuals. As these coding sequence repeats are subject to selection in mammals, it has been suggested that normal variations in some of these typically highly conserved genes are implicated in morphological differences between species and phenotypic variations within species. At present, poly-Q encoding genes in non-human mammalian species are poorly documented, as are their functions and propensities for polymorphic variation. Results: The current investigation identified 178 bovine poly-Q encoding genes (Q ≥ 5) and within this group, 26 genes with orthologs in both human and mouse that did not contain poly-Q repeats. The bovine poly-Q encoding genes typically had ubiquitous expression patterns although there was bias towards expression in epithelia, brain and testes. They were also characterised by unusually large sizes. Analysis of gene ontology terms revealed that the encoded proteins were strongly enriched for functions associated with transcriptional regulation and many contributed to physical interaction networks in the nucleus where they presumably act cooperatively in transcriptional regulatory complexes. In addition, the coding sequence CAG repeats in some bovine genes impacted mRNA splicing thereby generating unusual transcriptional diversity, which in at least one instance was tissue-specific. The poly-Q encoding genes were prioritised using multiple criteria for their likelihood of being polymorphic and then the highest ranking group was experimentally tested for polymorphic variation within a cattle diversity panel. Extensive and meiotically stable variation was identified. Conclusions: Transcriptional diversity can potentially be generated in poly-Q encoding genes by the impact of CAG repeat tracts on mRNA alternative splicing. This effect, combined with the physical interactions of the encoded proteins in large transcriptional regulatory complexes suggests that polymorphic variations of proteins in these complexes have strong potential to affect phenotype.
    • Carbohydrate catabolic flexibility in the mammalian intestinal commensal Lactobacillus ruminis revealed by fermentation studies aligned to genome annotations

      O’Donnell, Michelle M.; Forde, Brian M; Neville, B; Ross, R Paul; O’Toole, Paul W. (Biomed Central, 30/08/2011)
      Background: Lactobacillus ruminis is a poorly characterized member of the Lactobacillus salivarius clade that is part of the intestinal microbiota of pigs, humans and other mammals. Its variable abundance in human and animals may be linked to historical changes over time and geographical differences in dietary intake of complex carbohydrates. Results: In this study, we investigated the ability of nine L. ruminis strains of human and bovine origin to utilize fifty carbohydrates including simple sugars, oligosaccharides, and prebiotic polysaccharides. The growth patterns were compared with metabolic pathways predicted by annotation of a high quality draft genome sequence of ATCC 25644 (human isolate) and the complete genome of ATCC 27782 (bovine isolate). All of the strains tested utilized prebiotics including fructooligosaccharides (FOS), soybean-oligosaccharides (SOS) and 1,3:1,4-β-D-gluco-oligosaccharides to varying degrees. Six strains isolated from humans utilized FOS-enriched inulin, as well as FOS. In contrast, three strains isolated from cows grew poorly in FOS-supplemented medium. In general, carbohydrate utilisation patterns were strain-dependent and also varied depending on the degree of polymerisation or complexity of structure. Six putative operons were identified in the genome of the human isolate ATCC 25644 for the transport and utilisation of the prebiotics FOS, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), SOS, and 1,3:1,4-β-D-Gluco-oligosaccharides. One of these comprised a novel FOS utilisation operon with predicted capacity to degrade chicory-derived FOS. However, only three of these operons were identified in the ATCC 27782 genome that might account for the utilisation of only SOS and 1,3:1,4-β-D-Gluco-oligosaccharides. Conclusions: This study has provided definitive genome-based evidence to support the fermentation patterns of nine strains of Lactobacillus ruminis, and has linked it to gene distribution patterns in strains from different sources. Furthermore, the study has identified prebiotic carbohydrates with the potential to promote L. ruminis growth in vivo.
    • A case of bovine raw milk contamination with Listeria monocytogenes

      Hunt, Karen; Drummond, Niall; Murphy, Mary; Butler, Francis; Buckley, Jim; Jordan, Kieran; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; European Union (Biomed Central, 06/07/2012)
      During routine sampling of bulk raw milk on a dairy farm, the pathogenic bacteria Listeria monocytogenes was found to be a contaminant, at numbers < 100 cfu/ml. A strain with an indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern was isolated from the bulk milk two months later. Environmental swabs taken at the dairy environment were negative for the presence of L. monocytogenes, indicating a possible case of excretion of the L. monocytogenes directly into the milk. Milk samples were collected from the individual cows and analysed, resulting in the identification of L. monocytogenes excretion (at 280 cfu/ml) from one of the 4 mammary quarters of one dairy cow out of 180. When the infected cow was isolated from the herd, no L. monocytogenes was detected from the remaining herd. The pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern of the strain from the individual cow was indistinguishable from that originally isolated from the bulk milk. The infected cow did not show any clinical signs of disease, nor did the appearance of the milk have any physical abnormalities. Antibiotic treatment of the infected mammary quarter was found to be ineffective. This study shows that there can be risks associated with direct contamination of raw milk with L. monocytogenes.
    • Catabolic flexibility of mammalian-associated lactobacilli

      O'Donnell, Michelle M.; O’Toole, Paul W.; Ross, R Paul (Biomed Central, 16/05/2013)
      Metabolic flexibility may be generally defined as “the capacity for the organism to adapt fuel oxidation to fuel availability”. The metabolic diversification strategies used by individual bacteria vary greatly from the use of novel or acquired enzymes to the use of plasmid-localised genes and transporters. In this review, we describe the ability of lactobacilli to utilise a variety of carbon sources from their current or new environments in order to grow and survive. The genus Lactobacillus now includes more than 150 species, many with adaptive capabilities, broad metabolic capacity and species/strain variance. They are therefore, an informative example of a cell factory capable of adapting to new niches with differing nutritional landscapes. Indeed, lactobacilli naturally colonise and grow in a wide variety of environmental niches which include the roots and foliage of plants, silage, various fermented foods and beverages, the human vagina and the mammalian gastrointestinal tract (GIT; including the mouth, stomach, small intestine and large intestine). Here we primarily describe the metabolic flexibility of some lactobacilli isolated from the mammalian gastrointestinal tract, and we also describe some of the food-associated species with a proven ability to adapt to the GIT. As examples this review concentrates on the following species - Lb. plantarum, Lb. acidophilus, Lb. ruminis, Lb. salivarius, Lb. reuteri and Lb. sakei, to highlight the diversity and inter-relationships between the catabolic nature of species within the genus.
    • Characterisation and application of fruit by-products as novel ingredients in gluten-free products

      O'Shea, Norah; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (2014-01)
      Literature has revealed that “waste” left from the processing of fruit can still contain a substantial quantity of macro and minor nutrients. The aim of this thesis was to ascertain the nutritional and structural properties and potential uses of two fruit by-products [apple pomace (Malus domestica Cv. “Karmijn de Sonnaville”) and orange pomace (Citrus sinensis L. Cv. “Valencia”)] in glutenfree bread and extruded snack formulations. The physicochemical and nutritional properties of the fruit by-products were initially studied. Apple pomace contained a high level of fibre and pectin. The isolated pectin was demonstrated to have a high level of methylation which developed viscous pastes. Orange pomace also had high levels of fibre and pectin, and it was an abundant source of minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Orange pomace had a poor gelling ability. The flour obtained after milling dried orange pomace was used in the formulation of gluten-free bread with the aid of a response surface design. Due to the fibrous properties of orange pomace flour, proofing and water addition were also studied. When added at levels greater than 6%, the loaf volume decreased. The number of cells per slice also decreased with increasing orange pomace addition. Inclusion of orange pomace at levels of up to 4% increased crumb softness. An optimised formulation and proofing time was derived using the optimisation tool; these consisted of 5.5% orange pomace, 94.6% water inclusion and with 49 minutes proofing. These optimised parameters doubled the total dietary fibre content of the bread compared to the original control. The pasting properties, rheology, microstructure and sensory characteristics of the optimised formulation (batter and bread) were investigated. Pasting results showed how orange pomace inclusions reduced the final viscosity of the batter, hence reducing the occurrence of starch gelatinisation. Rheological properties such as the storage modulus (G') and complex modulus (G*) increased in the orange pomace batter compared to the control batter. This demonstrates how the orange pomace as an ingredient improved the robustness of the formulation. Sensory panellists scored the orange pomace bread comparably to the control bread. Milled apple pomace was studied as a potential novel ingredient in an extruded snack. As extrusion requires the trialling of a number of extruder parameters, a response surface design was again used to develop an optimised snack. The parameters studied were apple pomace addition, die head temperature and screw speed. Screw speed had the most significant impact on extrudate characteristics. As screw speed increased the favourable extrudate characteristics such as radical expansion ratio, porosity and specific volume decreased. The inclusion of apple pomace had a negative effect on extrudate characteristics at levels greater than 8% addition. Including apple pomace reduced the hardness and increased the crispiness of the snack. Using the optimisation tool, the optimised and validated formulation and extrusion process contained the following parameters: 7.7% apple pomace, 150oC die head temperature and a screw speed of 69 rpm.