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Species identification and molecular characterization of Cronobacter spp. isolated from food imported over nine years into Beijing, China

Wang, Qi, Forsythe, Stephen James, Zhao, Xiao-Juan, Wang, Zi-Wei, Li, Dan, Ma, Dan, Cao, Jia-Yue, Zeng, Jing
Food microbiology 2019 v.82 pp. 11-19
Cronobacter sakazakii, alleles, bacteremia, databases, desorption, enterocolitis, matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization mass spectrometry, meningitis, multilocus sequence typing, neonates, pathovars, serotypes, species identification, China
Cronobacter spp. are associated with serious infections in neonates with the clinical presentations of necrotizing enterocolitis, bacteraemia and meningitis. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) was used to identify 203 Cronobacter isolates from imported food during 2006–2015 with an optimized in-house database. The isolates were predominantly C. sakazakii (88.18%), followed by C. malonaticus (8.37%), C. muytjensii (1.48%), C. turicensis (0.99%) and C. dublinensis (0.99%). The result was totally consistent with that of fusA allele sequencing. 12.32% (25/203) of isolates gave inconsistent spectra following separate protein extractions. Sixty C. sakazakii isolates and 24 isolates from the other four species were chosen for multi-locus sequence type analyses (MLST) and PCR-serotyping. Thirty-one sequence types were identified. The common sequence types were ST1 (19/60) and ST4 (13/60) for C. sakazakii and ST7 (12/17) for C. malonaticus. The primary serotypes were Csak O:1 (30/60), Csak O:2 (25/60) and Cmal O:2 (16/17) for C. sakazakii and C. malonaticus isolates, respectively. In conclusion, appropriate in-house database could make MALDI-TOF MS method identifying Cronobacter spp. isolates to the species level. But the spectra data were not sufficiently consistent for subtyping, unlike MLST. The Cronobacter spp. isolates have a high diversity including recognized pathovars.