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Role of Oxidative Stress in C. jejuni Inactivation During Freeze-Thaw Treatment

Garénaux, Amélie, Ritz, Magali, Jugiau, Florence, Rama, Florence, Federighi, Michel, de Jonge, Rob
Current microbiology 2009 v.58 no.2 pp. 134-138
Campylobacter jejuni, aerobic conditions, bacterial enteritis, cell death, chickens, fillets, hygiene, juices, mutants, oxidative stress, poultry meat, protective effect, superoxide anion, superoxide dismutase
Campylobacter jejuni represents one of the leading causes of bacterial enteritis throughout the world. Poultry is an important source of C. jejuni. Despite hygiene measures taken in the production chain, C. jejuni is frequently isolated from poultry meat. C. jejuni is a microaerophilic pathogen, affected by oxidative stress. Freeze-thaw treatment induces cell death by several mechanisms, including oxidative stress. In this article, we investigate the role of oxidative stress in C. jejuni sensitivity during and after a freeze-thaw treatment. This treatment results in dead and sublethally injured cells. The latter population might have an increased sensitivity to oxidative stress. To test this, cells were stored for another 24 h at 4°C under aerobic conditions and compared to cells that were not treated. C. jejuni survival was measured in different media (water, BHI broth, chicken juice, and chicken fillets) to test the environment protective effect. Different strains were tested, including sodB (encoding the superoxide dismutase) and cj1371 (encoding a periplasmic protein) mutants. Cell death was particularly important in water but similar in BHI, chicken juice, and chicken fillets. The sodB mutant was more sensitive to freeze-thaw treatment, suggesting that the killing mechanism involves production of superoxide anions. On the contrary, the cj1371 mutant was more sensitive to storage at 4°C, suggesting that it does not play a role in the detoxification of reactive oxygen species. Storage at 4°C after freeze-thaw treatment increases cell death of oxidative stress-sensitive populations. Sensitization to oxidative stress, freeze-thaw treatment, and further storage at 4°C could be a way to reduce C. jejuni populations on carcasses.