Main content area

Prevalence of pathogenic Arcobacter species in South Korea: Comparison of two protocols for isolating the bacteria from foods and examination of nine putative virulence genes

Kim, Nam Hee, Park, Sun Min, Kim, Hye Won, Cho, Tae Jin, Kim, Soon Han, Choi, Changsun, Rhee, Min Suk
Food microbiology 2019 v.78 pp. 18-24
Arcobacter butzleri, Arcobacter cryaerophilus, Arcobacter skirrowii, agar, bacteria, cefoperazone, charcoal, chicken meat, deoxycholic acid, food safety, frozen meat, genes, gizzard, green leafy vegetables, intestines, neck, pathogens, pork, protocols, refrigeration, selective media, virulence, South Korea
Contamination of foodstuffs by potentially enteropathogenic Arcobacter spp. is becoming a concern worldwide. However, few studies have examined virulence-associated genes in isolates of Arcobacter spp. from food. Here, we investigated the prevalence of three pathogenic Arcobacter species, A. butzleri, A. cryaerophilus, and A. skirrowii, in chicken, pork, and leafy green vegetables (n = 323) in South Korea. Samples were examined using two different protocols selected from a literature review: Acrobacter selective broth (ASB) II + Arcobacter selective medium (ASM) II (protocol A), and ASB II + modified charcoal cefoperazone deoxycholate agar supplemented with CAT (protocol B). Overall, Arcobacter spp. were detected in 45.8% of food samples, and the recovery rate of protocol B (37.8%) was significantly higher than that of protocol A (30.7%) (p < 0.05). Refrigerated chicken gizzard samples showed the highest detection rate (100%), followed by refrigerated chicken wing (79.5%), intestine (77.3%), neck skin (63.3%), pork (55.6%), frozen chicken legs (5.0%), and leafy green vegetables (4.4%) (p < 0.05). All isolates from chicken and leafy green vegetables were identified as A. butzleri, whereas A. cryaerophilus and A. skirrowii were mainly detected in pork. Most samples (95.8%) harbored more than one of nine putative virulence factors (cadF, ciaB, cj1349, hecA, hecB, mviN, pldA, irgA, and tlyA), and 91.3% harbored more than two. Isolates harboring all nine putative virulence genes were obtained from 1.9% of samples: five pork and one chicken. This study provides comprehensive and de facto evidence regarding prevalence of an emerging pathogen, Arcobacter spp., in various foods, along with their virulence potential. The results justify further research with respect to their role in food safety.