Food contamination can be a serious concern for public health because it can be related to the severe spreading of pathogens. This is a main issue, especially in the case of fresh fruits and vegetables; indeed, they have often been associated with gastrointestinal outbreak events, due to contamination with pathogenic bacteria. However, little is known about the physiological adaptation and bacterial response to stresses encountered in the host plant. Thus, this work aimed to investigate the adaptation of a commensal E. coli strain while growing in tomato pericarp. Pre-adapted and non-adapted cells were compared and used to contaminate tomatoes, demonstrating that pre-adaptation boosted cell proliferation. DNA extracted from pre-adapted and non-adapted cells was sequenced, and their methylation profiles were compared. Hence, genes involved in cell adhesion and resistance against toxic compounds were identified as genes involved in adaptation, and their expression was compared in these two experimental conditions. Finally, pre-adapted and non-adapted E. coli were tested for their ability to resist the presence of toxic compounds, demonstrating that adaptation exerted a protective effect. In conclusion, this work provides new information about the physiological adaptation of bacteria colonizing the tomato fruit pericarp.

Adaptation of Commensal Escherichia coli in Tomato Fruits: Motility, Stress, Virulence

Vassallo, Alberto
Primo
;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Food contamination can be a serious concern for public health because it can be related to the severe spreading of pathogens. This is a main issue, especially in the case of fresh fruits and vegetables; indeed, they have often been associated with gastrointestinal outbreak events, due to contamination with pathogenic bacteria. However, little is known about the physiological adaptation and bacterial response to stresses encountered in the host plant. Thus, this work aimed to investigate the adaptation of a commensal E. coli strain while growing in tomato pericarp. Pre-adapted and non-adapted cells were compared and used to contaminate tomatoes, demonstrating that pre-adaptation boosted cell proliferation. DNA extracted from pre-adapted and non-adapted cells was sequenced, and their methylation profiles were compared. Hence, genes involved in cell adhesion and resistance against toxic compounds were identified as genes involved in adaptation, and their expression was compared in these two experimental conditions. Finally, pre-adapted and non-adapted E. coli were tested for their ability to resist the presence of toxic compounds, demonstrating that adaptation exerted a protective effect. In conclusion, this work provides new information about the physiological adaptation of bacteria colonizing the tomato fruit pericarp.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11581/471342
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