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Longitudinal monitoring of Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria phages in seafood processing environments in Thailand

Vongkamjan, Kitiya, Benjakul, Soottawat, Kim Vu, Hue Thi, Vuddhakul, Varaporn
Food microbiology 2017 v.66 pp. 11-19
DNA fingerprinting, Listeria monocytogenes, bacteriophages, food pathogens, food processing plants, genome, host range, monitoring, public health, random amplified polymorphic DNA technique, raw materials, risk, seafoods, serotypes, Thailand
Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen commonly found in environments of seafood processing, thus presenting a challenge for eradication from seafood processing facilities. Monitoring the prevalence and subtype diversity of L. monocytogenes together with phages that are specific to Listeria spp. (“Listeria phages”) will provide knowledge on the bacteria-phage ecology in food processing plants. In this work, a total of 595 samples were collected from raw material, finished seafood products and environmental samples from different sites of a seafood processing plant during 17 sampling visits in 1.5 years of study. L. monocytogenes and Listeria spp. (non-monocytogenes) were found in 22 (3.7%) and 43 (7.2%) samples, respectively, whereas 29 Listeria phages were isolated from 9 (1.5%) phage-positive samples. DNA fingerprint analysis of L. monocytogenes isolates revealed 11 Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) profiles, with two subtypes were frequently observed over time. Our data reveal a presence of Listeria phages within the same seafood processing environments where a diverse set of L. monocytogenes subtypes was also found. Although serotype 4b was observed at lower frequency, data indicate that isolates from this seafood processing plant belonged to both epidemiologically important serotypes 1/2a and 4b, which may suggest a potential public health risk. Phages (all showed a unique genome size of 65 ± 2 kb) were classified into 9 host range groups, representing both broad- and narrow-host range. While most L. monocytogenes isolates from this facility were susceptible to phages, five isolates showed resistance to 12–20 phages. Variations in phage host range among Listeria phages isolated from food processing plant may affect a presence of a diverse set of L. monocytogenes isolates derived from the same processing environment in Thailand.