Unique response characteristics in persistent strains of Listeria monocytogenes exposed to low pH.


Division of Veterinary Public Health, Departments of Veterinary Science, Nippon Veterinary and Life Sciences University, Tokyo, 180-8602, Japan. Electronic address: [Email]


Some Listeria monocytogenes strains are persistent in food processing environments, where this pathogen may be subjected to various stresses. This study aimed to elucidate the response of persistent strains of L. monocytogenes to low pH and H2O2 exposure. Almost all of the persistent strains examined were highly susceptible to low pH, whereas H2O2 susceptibility was comparable to that of control strains. Two persistent strains isolated from the same sample, however, exhibited lower susceptibility to low pH. These findings suggest an acid-susceptible phenotype predominates in the habitat, indicating that environmental conditions contribute to the establishment of persistence. Representative strains exhibiting acid-susceptible and less acid-susceptible phenotypes were further investigated regarding acid response characteristics. Less acid-susceptible strains exhibited increased survival in acidified brain heart infusion (BHI) broth compared with acidified phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). These strains also exhibited increased survival in acidified PBS containing glucose and glutamate, which are involved in acid response mechanisms, compared with acidified PBS alone. However, neither acidified BHI broth nor exogenous glucose and glutamate increased survival of acid-susceptible strains. An adaptive acid tolerance response of the acid-susceptible phenotype was observed, but this was limited compared with that of the less acid-susceptible phenotype.


Acid response,Glucose,Glutamate,Listeria monocytogenes,Persistence,