• Effectiveness of current hygiene practices on minimization of Listeria monocytogenes in different mushroom production‐related environments

      Pennone, Vincenzo; Dygico, Kenneth Lyonel; Coffey, Aidan; Gahan, Cormac G.M.; Grogan, Helen; McAuliffe, Olivia; Burgess, Catherine M.; Jordan, Kieran; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 14/F/881 (Wiley, 2020-05-20)
      Background: The commercial production of Agaricus bisporus is a three stage process: 1) production of compost, also called “substrate”; 2) production of casing soil; and 3) production of the mushrooms. Hygiene practices are undertaken at each stage: pasteurization of the substrate, hygiene practices applied during the production of casing soil, postharvest steam cookout, and disinfection at the mushroom production facilities. However, despite these measures, foodborne pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes, are reported in the mushroom production environment. In this work, the presence of L. monocytogenes was evaluated before and after the application of hygiene practices at each stage of mushroom production with swabs, samples of substrate, casing, and spent mushroom growing substrates. Results: L. monocytogenes was not detected in any casing or substrate sample by enumeration according to BS EN ISO 11290-2:1998. Analysis of the substrate showed that L. monocytogenes was absent in 10 Phase II samples following pasteurization, but was then present in 40% of 10 Phase III samples. At the casing production facility, 31% of 59 samples were positive. Hygiene improvements were applied, and after four sampling occasions, 22% of 37 samples were positive, but no statistically significant difference was observed (p > .05). At mushroom production facilities, the steam cookout process inactivated L. monocytogenes in the spent growth substrate, but 13% of 15 floor swabs at Company 1 and 19% of 16 floor swabs at Company 2, taken after disinfection, were positive. Conclusion: These results showed the possibility of L. monocytogenes recontamination of Phase III substrate, cross-contamination at the casing production stage and possible survival after postharvest hygiene practices at the mushroom growing facilities. This information will support the development of targeted measures to minimize L. monocytogenes in the mushroom industry.
    • Microbiota-related Changes in Bile Acid & Tryptophan Metabolism are Associated with Gastrointestinal Dysfunction in a Mouse Model of Autism

      Golubeva, Anna V.; Joyce, Susan A.; Moloney, Gerard; Burokas, Aurelijus; Sherwin, Eoin; Arboleya, Silvia; Flynn, Ian; Khochanskiy, Dmitry; Moya-Pérez, Angela; Peterson, Veronica; et al. (Elsevier, 2017-09-21)
      Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the most prevalent neurodevelopmental conditions worldwide. There is growing awareness that ASD is highly comorbid with gastrointestinal distress and altered intestinal microbiome, and that host-microbiome interactions may contribute to the disease symptoms. However, the paucity of knowledge on gut-brain axis signaling in autism constitutes an obstacle to the development of precision microbiota-based therapeutics in ASD. To this end, we explored the interactions between intestinal microbiota, gut physiology and social behavior in a BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J mouse model of ASD. Here we show that a reduction in the relative abundance of very particular bacterial taxa in the BTBR gut – namely, bile-metabolizing Bifidobacterium and Blautia species, - is associated with deficient bile acid and tryptophan metabolism in the intestine, marked gastrointestinal dysfunction, as well as impaired social interactions in BTBR mice. Together these data support the concept of targeted manipulation of the gut microbiota for reversing gastrointestinal and behavioral symptomatology in ASD, and offer specific plausible targets in this endeavor.
    • Whole genome sequence analysis; an improved technology that identifies underlying genotypic differences between closely related Listeria monocytogenes strains

      Fox, Edward M.; Casey, Aidan; Jordan, Kieran; Coffey, Aidan; Gahan, Cormac G.M.; McAuliffe, Olivia (Elsevier, 2017-07-08)
      As the new technology of whole genome sequencing (WGS) has been shown to have greater discriminatory power in differentiating strains than the much-used pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), there is currently a transition from using PFGE to WGS for disease outbreak investigation. Therefore, there is a need for comparison of bacterial isolates using both PFGE and WGS. In this study, two pairs of L. monocytogenes strains with geographically diverse sources of isolation but which had indistinguishable or closely related PFGE profiles, were subjected to WGS analysis. Comparative analysis of their genomes showed that one pair of strains which had closely related PFGE profiles in fact differed significantly from one another in terms of their antibiotic and heavy metal stress resistance determinants, and mobile genetic elements. Therefore, this research demonstrated the ability of WGS analysis to differentiate very closely related strains and that WGS analysis represents the most effective tool available for subtyping L. monocytogenes isolates.