• An investigation of the ecological niches and seasonal nature of Clostridium estertheticum and Clostridium gasigenes in the Irish beef farm environment

      Esteves, Eden; Whyte, Paul; Gupta, Tanushree B; Bolton, Declan; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 6910NF (Wiley, 2020-07)
      Blown pack spoilage (BPS) of vacuum packaged beef is caused by psychrotolerant and psychrophilic Clostridium species (PPC), primarily Clostridium estertheticum and Clostridium gasigenes. The aim of this study was to investigate the environmental niches and impact of season on these BPS Clostridium spp. on Irish beef farms. On each of 5 different beef farms, faecal (10), soil (5), silage (5), bedding straw (5), drinking water (5), puddle/ditch water (5) and air (5) samples were collected during Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and tested for C. estertheticum and C. gasigenes using culture (direct plating and enrichment) and molecular, (conventional PCR and quantitative PCR (qPCR)), based techniques. C. estertheticum and C. gasigenes were detected in all sample types, with qPCR detection rates ranging from 4% to 50% and at concentrations of up to 1.5 log10 cfu g‐1 and 3.5 log10 cfu g‐1, respectively. The impact of season was not clear as the results were mixed depending on the detection method used. It was concluded that BPS causing C. estertheticum and C. gasigenes are widely distributed in the beef farm environment.