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Temperature-dependent growth characteristics of Bacillus thuringiensis in a ratatouille food model


Heini, Nicole; Stephan, Roger; Filter, Matthias; Plaza-Rodriguez, Carolina; Frentzel, Hendrik; Ehling-Schulz, Monika; Johler, Sophia (2020). Temperature-dependent growth characteristics of Bacillus thuringiensis in a ratatouille food model. Journal of Food Protection, 83(5):816-820.

Abstract

In contrast to Bacillus cereus, the role of Bacillus thuringiensis in foodborne illness has been controversially discussed. As B. thuringiensis-based biopesticides containing a mixture of crystal toxins and viable spores are widely used, a current European Food Safety Authority opinion underlines the need for additional data to enable risk assessment. However, it is currently poorly understood if B. thuringiensis is able to multiply in food, which is crucial to sound risk assessment. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate growth of selected B. thuringiensis strains from food and insecticides in a ratatouille food model. To this end, the growth parameters of three B. thuringiensis strains were determined: insecticide strain ABTS-351 (CH_119, B. thuringiensis serovar kurstaki), insecticide strain ABTS-1857 (CH_121, B. thuringiensis serovar aizawai), and CH_48 (wild-type B. thuringiensis isolated from rosemary), producing extremely high levels of enterotoxins. After an initial drop in colony counts, we observed a statistically significant growth for the tested B. thuringiensis strains between 6 and 24 h at 22, 30, and 37°C, conditions mimicking prolonged holding times. We were also able to show that the enterotoxin overproducer CH_48 can grow up to 108 CFU/g in the ratatouille matrix within 24 h at 37°C. The two midlevel enterotoxin formers ABTS-351 (CH_119) and ABTS-1857 (CH_121) isolated from biopesticides exhibited growth between 6 and 24 h, with one of the strains growing to 107 CFU/g. To our knowledge, this is the first study providing evidence of B. thuringiensis growth in a food model with intact competitive flora. Our findings suggest strain-specific variation and stress the complexity of assessing the risk related to B. thuringiensis in food, indicating that some strains can represent a risk to consumer health when vegetable-based foods are stored under conditions of prolonged temperature abuse.

Abstract

In contrast to Bacillus cereus, the role of Bacillus thuringiensis in foodborne illness has been controversially discussed. As B. thuringiensis-based biopesticides containing a mixture of crystal toxins and viable spores are widely used, a current European Food Safety Authority opinion underlines the need for additional data to enable risk assessment. However, it is currently poorly understood if B. thuringiensis is able to multiply in food, which is crucial to sound risk assessment. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate growth of selected B. thuringiensis strains from food and insecticides in a ratatouille food model. To this end, the growth parameters of three B. thuringiensis strains were determined: insecticide strain ABTS-351 (CH_119, B. thuringiensis serovar kurstaki), insecticide strain ABTS-1857 (CH_121, B. thuringiensis serovar aizawai), and CH_48 (wild-type B. thuringiensis isolated from rosemary), producing extremely high levels of enterotoxins. After an initial drop in colony counts, we observed a statistically significant growth for the tested B. thuringiensis strains between 6 and 24 h at 22, 30, and 37°C, conditions mimicking prolonged holding times. We were also able to show that the enterotoxin overproducer CH_48 can grow up to 108 CFU/g in the ratatouille matrix within 24 h at 37°C. The two midlevel enterotoxin formers ABTS-351 (CH_119) and ABTS-1857 (CH_121) isolated from biopesticides exhibited growth between 6 and 24 h, with one of the strains growing to 107 CFU/g. To our knowledge, this is the first study providing evidence of B. thuringiensis growth in a food model with intact competitive flora. Our findings suggest strain-specific variation and stress the complexity of assessing the risk related to B. thuringiensis in food, indicating that some strains can represent a risk to consumer health when vegetable-based foods are stored under conditions of prolonged temperature abuse.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Food Safety and Hygiene
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Food Science
Life Sciences > Microbiology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Food Science, Microbiology
Language:English
Date:1 May 2020
Deposited On:15 Feb 2021 17:12
Last Modified:16 Feb 2021 21:01
Publisher:International Association for Food Protection
ISSN:0362-028X
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028x.jfp-19-358

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