• Actinomyces Produces Defensin-Like Bacteriocins (Actifensins) with a Highly Degenerate Structure and Broad Antimicrobial Activity

      Sugrue, Ivan; O’Connor, Paula M.; Hill, Colin; Stanton, Catherine; Ross, R. Paul; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; JPI; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273 (American Society for Microbiology, 2020-01-29)
      We identified a strain of Actinomyces ruminicola which produces a potent bacteriocin with activity against a broad range of Gram-positive bacteria, many of which are pathogenic to animals and humans. The bacteriocin was purified and found to have a mass of 4,091 ± 1 Da with a sequence of GFGCNLITSNPYQCSNHCKSVGYRGGYCKLRTVCTCY containing three disulfide bridges. Surprisingly, near relatives of actifensin were found to be a series of related eukaryotic defensins displaying greater than 50% identity to the bacteriocin. A pangenomic screen further revealed that production of actifensin-related bacteriocins is a common trait within the genus, with 47 being encoded in 161 genomes. Furthermore, these bacteriocins displayed a remarkable level of diversity with a mean amino acid identity of only 52% between strains/species. This level of redundancy suggests that this new class of bacteriocins may provide a very broad structural basis on which to deliver and design new broad-spectrum antimicrobials for treatment of animal and human infections. IMPORTANCE Bacteriocins (ribosomally produced antimicrobial peptides) are potential alternatives to current antimicrobials given the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance. We identified a novel bacteriocin from Actinomyces ruminicola with no previously characterized antimicrobial activity. Using publicly available genomic data, we found a highly conserved yet divergent family of previously unidentified homologous peptide sequences within the genus Actinomyces with striking similarity to eukaryotic defensins. These actifensins may provide a potent line of antimicrobial defense/offense, and the machinery to produce them could be used for the design of new antimicrobials given the degeneracy that exists naturally in their structure.
    • Administration of a live culture of Lactococcus lactis DPC 3147 into the bovine mammary gland stimulates the local host immune response, particularly IL-1β and IL-8 gene expression

      Beecher, Christine; Daly, Mairead; Berry, Donagh; Klostermann, Katja; Flynn, James; Meaney, William J; Hill, Colin; McCarthy, Tommie V; Ross, R Paul; Giblin, Linda; et al. (Cambridge University Press: Published for the Institute of Food Research and the Hannah Research Institute, 18/05/2009)
      Mastitis is one of the most costly diseases to the dairy farming industry. Conventional antibiotic therapy is often unsatisfactory for successful treatment of mastitis and alternative treatments are continually under investigation. We have previously demonstrated, in two separate field trials, that a probiotic culture, Lactococcus lactis DPC 3147, was comparable to antibiotic therapy to treat bovine mastitis. To understand the mode of action of this therapeutic, we looked at the detailed immune response of the host to delivery of this live strain directly into the mammary gland of six healthy dairy cows. All animals elicited signs of udder inflammation 7 h post infusion. At this time, clots were visible in the milk of all animals in the investigation. The most pronounced increase in immune gene expression was observed in Interleukin (IL)-1b and IL-8, with highest expression corresponding to peaks in somatic cell count. Infusion with a live culture of a Lc. lactis leads to a rapid and considerable innate immune response.
    • Antimicrobial antagonists against food pathogens; a bacteriocin perspective

      O'Connor, Paula M.; Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; 12/RC/2273 (Elsevier, 03/02/2015)
      Efforts are continuing to find novel bacteriocins with enhanced specificity and potency. Traditional plating techniques are still being used for bacteriocin screening studies, however, the availability of ever more bacterial genome sequences and the use of in silico gene mining tools have revealed novel bacteriocin gene clusters that would otherwise have been overlooked. Furthermore, synthetic biology and bioengineering-based approaches are allowing scientists to harness existing and novel bacteriocin gene clusters through expression in different hosts and by enhancing functionalities. The same principles apply to bacteriocin producing probiotic cultures and their application to control pathogens in the gut. We can expect that the recent developments on bacteriocins from Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) described here will contribute greatly to increased commercialisation of bacteriocins in food systems.
    • Antimicrobials for food and feed; a bacteriocin perspective

      O'Connor, Paula M.; Kuniyoshi, Tais M.; Oliveira, Ricardo PS; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; São Paulo Research Foundation; 12/RC/2273; 2015/24777-0; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-01-20)
      Bacteriocins are natural antimicrobials that have been consumed via fermented foods for millennia and have been the focus of renewed efforts to identify novel bacteriocins, and their producing microorganisms, for use as food biopreservatives and other applications. Bioengineering bacteriocins or combining bacteriocins with multiple modes of action (hurdle approach) can enhance their preservative effect and reduces the incidence of antimicrobial resistance. In addition to their role as food biopreservatives, bacteriocins are gaining credibility as health modulators, due to their ability to regulate the gut microbiota, which is strongly associated with human wellbeing. Indeed the strengthening link between the gut microbiota and obesity make bacteriocins ideal alternatives to Animal Growth Promoters (AGP) in animal feed also. Here we review recent advances in bacteriocin research that will contribute to the development of functional foods and feeds as a consequence of roles in food biopreservation and human/animal health.
    • Assessing the ability of Nisin A and derivatives thereof to inhibit Gram-negative bacteria from the genus Thermus

      Jonnala, Bhagya R. Yeluri; Feehily, Conor; O'Connor, Paula M.; Field, Des; Hill, Colin; Ross, R. Paul; McSweeney, P. L. H.; Sheehan, Diarmuid (JJ); Cotter, Paul D. (2020-12-09)
    • Atypical Listeria innocua strains possess an intact LIPI-3

      Clayton, Evelyn M; Daly, Karen M.; Guinane, Caitriona M.; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Ross, R Paul; Enterprise Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland; 06/IN.1/B98; 10/IN.1/B3027 (Biomed Central, 08/03/2014)
      Background: Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen which is the causative agent of listeriosis and can be divided into three evolutionary lineages I, II and III. While all strains possess the well established virulence factors associated with the Listeria pathogenicity island I (LIPI-1), lineage I strains also possess an additional pathogenicity island designated LIPI-3 which encodes listeriolysin S (LLS), a post-translationally modified cytolytic peptide. Up until now, this pathogenicity island has been identified exclusively in a subset of lineage I isolates of the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Results: In total 64 L. innocua strains were screened for the presence of LIPI-3. Here we report the identification of an intact LIPI-3 in 11 isolates of L. innocua and the remnants of the cluster in several others. Significantly, we can reveal that placing the L. innocua lls genes under the control of a constitutive promoter results in a haemolytic phenotype, confirming that the cluster is capable of encoding a functional haemolysin. Conclusions: Although the presence of the LIPI-3 gene cluster is confined to lineage I isolates of L. monocytogenes, a corresponding gene cluster or its remnants have been identified in many L. innocua strains.
    • Bacteriocin Gene-Trait matching across the complete Lactobacillus Pan-genome.

      Collins, Fergus W. J.; O'Connor, Paula M.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Gómez-Sala, Beatriz; Rea, Mary; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/227; 13/SIRG/2160 (Nature, 2017-06-14)
      Lactobacilli constitute a large genus of Gram-positive lactic acid bacteria which have widespread roles ranging from gut commensals to starters in fermented foods. A combination of in silico and laboratory-based screening allowed us to determine the overall bacteriocin producing potential of representative strains of each species of the genus. The genomes of 175 lactobacilli and 38 associated species were screened for the presence of antimicrobial producing genes and combined with screening for antimicrobial activity against a range of indicators. There also appears to be a link between the strains’ environment and bacteriocin production, with those from the animal and human microbiota encoding over twice as many bacteriocins as those from other sources. Five novel bacteriocins were identified belonging to differing bacteriocin classes, including two-peptide bacteriocins (muricidin and acidocin X) and circular bacteriocins (paracyclicin). In addition, there was a clear clustering of helveticin type bacteriolysins in the Lactobacillus acidophilus group of species. This combined in silico and in vitro approach to screening has demonstrated the true diversity and complexity of bacteriocins across the genus. It also highlights their biological importance in terms of communication and competition between closely related strains in diverse complex microbial environments.
    • Bacteriocin-Antimicrobial Synergy: A Medical and Food Perspective

      Mathur, Harsh; Field, Des; Rea, Mary; 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; 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; et al. (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.
    • 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; et al. (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 mastitis is a polymicrobial disease requiring a polydiagnostic approach

      Angeliki, Angelopoulou; Holohan, Ross; Rea, Mary; Warda, Alicja K.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273 (Elsevier, 2019-08-07)
      Bovine mastitis, an inflammation of the udder, is associated with increases in milk somatic cell count usually resulting from bacterial infection. We analysed 50 mastitic milk samples via cultivation, 16S rRNA sequencing and a combination of the two (culturomics) to define the complete microbial content of the milk. Most samples contained over 10,000 cfu mL-1 total bacterial counts including isolates that were haemolysin positive (n = 36). Among colonies isolated from blood agar plates, Streptococcus uberis was dominant (11/50) followed by Streptococcus dysgalactiae (6/50), Pseudomonas (6/50), Enterococcus faecalis (6/50), Escherichia coli (6/50), Staphylococcus argenteus (4/50), Bacillus (4/50) and Staphylococcus aureus (2/50). 16S rRNA profiling revealed that amplicons were dominated by Rhodococcus, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and Pseudomonas. A higher inter-sample diversity was noted in the 16S rRNA readouts, which was not always reflected in the plating results. The combination of the two methods highlights the polymicrobial complexity of bovine mastitis.
    • Controlled functional expression of the bacteriocins pediocin PA-1 and bactofencin A in Escherichia coli

      Mesa-Pereira, Beatriz; O’Connor, Paula M.; Rea, Mary; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273 (Nature Publishing Group, 2017-06-08)
      The bacteriocins bactofencin A (class IId) and pediocin PA-1 (class IIa) are encoded by operons with a similarly clustered gene organization including a structural peptide, an immunity protein, an ABC transporter and accessory bacteriocin transporter protein. Cloning of these operons in E. coli TunerTM (DE3) on a pETcoco-2 derived vector resulted in successful secretion of both bacteriocins. A corresponding approach, involving the construction of vectors containing different combinations of these genes, revealed that the structural and the transporter genes alone are sufficient to permit heterologous production and secretion in this host. Even though the accessory protein, usually associated with optimal disulfide bond formation, was not required for bacteriocin synthesis, its presence did result in greater pediocin PA-1 production. The simplicity of the system and the fact that the associated bacteriocins could be recovered from the extracellular medium provides an opportunity to facilitate protein engineering and the overproduction of biologically-active bacteriocins at industrial scale. Additionally, this system could enable the characterization of new bacteriocin operons where genetic tools are not available for the native producers.
    • Detection and Enumeration of Spore-Forming Bacteria in Powdered Dairy Products

      McHugh, Aoife; Feehily, Conor; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Frontiers, 2017-01-31)
      With the abolition of milk quotas in the European Union in 2015, several member states including Ireland, Luxembourg, and Belgium have seen year on year bi-monthly milk deliveries to dairies increase by up to 35%. Milk production has also increased outside of Europe in the past number of years. Unsurprisingly, there has been a corresponding increased focus on the production of dried milk products for improved shelf life. These powders are used in a wide variety of products, including confectionery, infant formula, sports dietary supplements and supplements for health recovery. To ensure quality and safety standards in the dairy sector, strict controls are in place with respect to the acceptable quantity and species of microorganisms present in these products. A particular emphasis on spore-forming bacteria is necessary due to their inherent ability to survive extreme processing conditions. Traditional microbiological detection methods used in industry have limitations in terms of time, efficiency, accuracy, and sensitivity. The following review will explore the common spore-forming bacterial contaminants of milk powders, will review the guidelines with respect to the acceptable limits of these microorganisms and will provide an insight into recent advances in methods for detecting these microbes. The various advantages and limitations with respect to the application of these diagnostics approaches for dairy food will be provided. It is anticipated that the optimization and application of these methods in appropriate ways can ensure that the enhanced pressures associated with increased production will not result in any lessening of safety and quality standards.
    • Detection and Enumeration of Spore-Forming Bacteria in Powdered Dairy Products

      McHugh, Aoife; Feehily, Conor; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Frontiers, 31/01/2017)
      With the abolition of milk quotas in the European Union in 2015, several member states including Ireland, Luxembourg, and Belgium have seen year on year bi-monthly milk deliveries to dairies increase by up to 35%. Milk production has also increased outside of Europe in the past number of years. Unsurprisingly, there has been a corresponding increased focus on the production of dried milk products for improved shelf life. These powders are used in a wide variety of products, including confectionery, infant formula, sports dietary supplements and supplements for health recovery. To ensure quality and safety standards in the dairy sector, strict controls are in place with respect to the acceptable quantity and species of microorganisms present in these products. A particular emphasis on spore-forming bacteria is necessary due to their inherent ability to survive extreme processing conditions. Traditional microbiological detection methods used in industry have limitations in terms of time, efficiency, accuracy, and sensitivity. The following review will explore the common spore-forming bacterial contaminants of milk powders, will review the guidelines with respect to the acceptable limits of these microorganisms and will provide an insight into recent advances in methods for detecting these microbes. The various advantages and limitations with respect to the application of these diagnostics approaches for dairy food will be provided. It is anticipated that the optimization and application of these methods in appropriate ways can ensure that the enhanced pressures associated with increased production will not result in any lessening of safety and quality standards.
    • Draft Genome Sequences of Macrococcus caseolyticus, Macrococcus canis, Macrococcus bohemicus, and Macrococcus goetzii

      Mazhar, Shahneela; Altermann, Eric; Hill, Colin; McAuliffe, Olivia; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 2015055 (American Society for Microbiology, 2019-05-09)
      Here, we present the draft genome sequences of 14 strains of 4 species of the genus Macrococcus. These strains were isolated from bovine milk and tongue samples obtained during a screening program.