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Comparative genomic and plasmid analysis of beer-spoiling and non-beer-spoiling Lactobacillus brevis isolates

Bergsveinson, Jordyn, Ziola, Barry
Canadian journal of microbiology 2017 v.63 no.12 pp. 970-983
Lactobacillus brevis, beers, brewing, genes, genetic variation, gluconates, horizontal gene transfer, lactic acid bacteria, mannose, metabolism, pectins, pentoses, phenotype, plasmids, spoilage microorganisms
Beer-spoilage-related lactic acid bacteria (BSR LAB) belong to multiple genera and species; however, beer-spoilage capacity is isolate-specific and partially acquired via horizontal gene transfer within the brewing environment. Thus, the extent to which genus-, species-, or environment- (i.e., brewery-) level genetic variability influences beer-spoilage phenotype is unknown. Publicly available Lactobacillus brevis genomes were analyzed via BlAst Diagnostic Gene findEr (BADGE) for BSR genes and assessed for pangenomic relationships. Also analyzed were functional coding capacities of plasmids of LAB inhabiting extreme niche environments. Considerable genetic variation was observed in L. brevis isolated from clinical samples, whereas 16 candidate genes distinguish BSR and non-BSR L. brevis genomes. These genes are related to nutrient scavenging of gluconate or pentoses, mannose, and metabolism of pectin. BSR L. brevis isolates also have higher average nucleotide identity and stronger pangenome association with one another, though isolation source (i.e., specific brewery) also appears to influence the plasmid coding capacity of BSR LAB. Finally, it is shown that niche-specific adaptation and phenotype are plasmid-encoded for both BSR and non-BSR LAB. The ultimate combination of plasmid-encoded genes dictates the ability of L. brevis to survive in the most extreme beer environment, namely, gassed (i.e., pressurized) beer.