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  1. Perera A, Clarke CM, Dykes GA, Fegan N
    Biomed Res Int, 2015;2015:382403.
    PMID: 26539484 DOI: 10.1155/2015/382403
    Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 and several other serogroups of non-O157 STEC are causative agents of severe disease in humans world-wide. The present study was conducted to characterize STEC O157 and non-O157 serogroups O26, O103, O111, O121, O45, and O145 in ruminants in Malaysia. A total of 136 ruminant feces samples were collected from 6 different farms in Peninsular Malaysia. Immunomagnetic beads were used to isolate E. coli O157 and non-O157 serogroups, while PCR was used for the detection and subtyping of STEC isolates. STEC O157:H7 was isolated from 6 (4%) feces samples and all isolates obtained carried stx 2c, eaeA-γ1, and ehxA. Non-O157 STEC was isolated from 2 (1.5%) feces samples with one isolate carrying stx 1a, stx 2a, stx 2c, and ehxA and the other carrying stx 1a alone. The presence of STEC O157 and non-O157 in a small percentage of ruminants in this study together with their virulence characteristics suggests that they may have limited impact on public health.
  2. Chia TW, Nguyen VT, McMeekin T, Fegan N, Dykes GA
    Appl Environ Microbiol, 2011 Jun;77(11):3757-64.
    PMID: 21478319 DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01415-10
    Bacterial attachment onto materials has been suggested to be stochastic by some authors but nonstochastic and based on surface properties by others. We investigated this by attaching pairwise combinations of two Salmonella enterica serovar Sofia (S. Sofia) strains (with different physicochemical and attachment properties) with one strain each of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium, S. enterica serovar Infantis, or S. enterica serovar Virchow (all with similar physicochemical and attachment abilities) in ratios of 0.428, 1, and 2.333 onto glass, stainless steel, Teflon, and polysulfone. Attached bacterial cells were recovered and counted. If the ratio of attached cells of each Salmonella serovar pair recovered was the same as the initial inoculum ratio, the attachment process was deemed stochastic. Experimental outcomes from the study were compared to those predicted by the extended Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (XDLVO) theory. Significant differences (P < 0.05) between the initial and the attached ratios for serovar pairs containing S. Sofia S1296a for all different ratios were apparent for all materials. For S. Sofia S1635-containing pairs, 7 out of 12 combinations of serovar pairs and materials had attachment ratios not significantly different (P > 0.05) from the initial ratio of 0.428. Five out of 12 and 10 out of 12 samples had attachment ratios not significantly different (P > 0.05) from the initial ratios of 1 and 2.333, respectively. These results demonstrate that bacterial attachment to different materials is likely to be nonstochastic only when the key physicochemical properties of the bacteria were significantly different (P < 0.05) from each other. XDLVO theory could successfully predict the attachment of some individual isolates to particular materials but could not be used to predict the likelihood of stochasticity in pairwise attachment experiments.
  3. Tan MS, Moore SC, Tabor RF, Fegan N, Rahman S, Dykes GA
    BMC Microbiol, 2016 09 15;16:212.
    PMID: 27629769 DOI: 10.1186/s12866-016-0832-2
    BACKGROUND: Processing of fresh produce exposes cut surfaces of plant cell walls that then become vulnerable to human foodborne pathogen attachment and contamination, particularly by Salmonella enterica. Plant cell walls are mainly composed of the polysaccharides cellulose, pectin and hemicelluloses (predominantly xyloglucan). Our previous work used bacterial cellulose-based plant cell wall models to study the interaction between Salmonella and the various plant cell wall components. We demonstrated that Salmonella attachment was favoured in the presence of pectin while xyloglucan had no effect on its attachment. Xyloglucan significantly increased the attachment of Salmonella cells to the plant cell wall model only when it was in association with pectin. In this study, we investigate whether the plant cell wall polysaccharides mediate Salmonella attachment to the bacterial cellulose-based plant cell wall models through specific carbohydrate interactions or through the effects of carbohydrates on the physical characteristics of the attachment surface.

    RESULTS: We found that none of the monosaccharides that make up the plant cell wall polysaccharides specifically inhibit Salmonella attachment to the bacterial cellulose-based plant cell wall models. Confocal laser scanning microscopy showed that Salmonella cells can penetrate and attach within the tightly arranged bacterial cellulose network. Analysis of images obtained from atomic force microscopy revealed that the bacterial cellulose-pectin-xyloglucan composite with 0.3 % (w/v) xyloglucan, previously shown to have the highest number of Salmonella cells attached to it, had significantly thicker cellulose fibrils compared to other composites. Scanning electron microscopy images also showed that the bacterial cellulose and bacterial cellulose-xyloglucan composites were more porous when compared to the other composites containing pectin.

    CONCLUSIONS: Our study found that the attachment of Salmonella cells to cut plant cell walls was not mediated by specific carbohydrate interactions. This suggests that the attachment of Salmonella strains to the plant cell wall models were more dependent on the structural characteristics of the attachment surface. Pectin reduces the porosity and space between cellulose fibrils, which then forms a matrix that is able to retain Salmonella cells within the bacterial cellulose network. When present with pectin, xyloglucan provides a greater surface for Salmonella cells to attach through the thickening of cellulose fibrils.

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