• Integrated phenotypic-genotypic approach to understand the influence of ultrasound on metabolic response of Lactobacillus sakei

      Ojha, K. Shikha; Burgess, Catherine; Duffy, Geraldine; Kerry, Joseph P.; Tiwari, Brijesh K; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (PLOS, 2018-01-25)
      The lethal effects of soundwaves on a range of microorganisms have been known for almost a century whereas, the use of ultrasound to promote or control their activity is much more recent. Moreover, the fundamental molecular mechanism influencing the behaviour of microorganisms subjected to ultrasonic waves is not well established. In this study, we investigated the influence of ultrasonic frequencies of 20, 45, 130 and 950 kHz on growth kinetics of Lactobacillus sakei. A significant increase in the growth rate of L. sakei was observed following ultrasound treatment at 20 kHz despite the treatment yielding a significant reduction of ca. 3 log cfu/mL in cells count. Scanning electron microscopy showed that ultrasound caused significant changes on the cell surface of L. sakei culture with the formation of pores “sonoporation”. Phenotypic microarrays showed that all ultrasound treated L. sakei after exposure to various carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur sources had significant variations in nutrient utilisation. Integration of this phenotypic data with the genome of L. sakei revealed that various metabolic pathways were being influenced by the ultrasound treatments. Results presented in this study showed that the physiological response of L. sakei in response to US is frequency dependent and that it can influence metabolic pathways. Hence, ultrasound treatments can be employed to modulate microbial activity for specialised applications.