Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Life-saving in the bacterial world: How Campylobacter rely on Pseudomonas to infect humans

Date:
December 7, 2010
Source:
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Summary:
The bacterium Campylobacter jejuni is a major cause of food poisoning in humans. It is normally transmitted from contaminated chicken meat, as it is frequently found in the intestines of chickens, where it apparently does not result in any symptoms. Campylobacter jejuni is well adapted to life in the intestines of animals -- and humans -- so it is surprising that it is able to survive on the surface of meat, which is generally stored in a much more oxygen-rich atmosphere. Researchers have now solved the puzzle, showing that Campylobacter can survive ambient oxygen levels thanks to the presence of other bacteria, species of Pseudomonas.

Campylobacter (yellow) and Pseudomonas (red).
Credit: Image courtesy of Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

The bacterium Campylobacter jejuni is a major cause of food poisoning in humans. It is normally transmitted from contaminated chicken meat, as it is frequently found in the intestines of chickens, where it apparently does not result in any symptoms. Campylobacter jejuni is well adapted to life in the intestines of animals -- and humans -- so it is surprising that it is able to survive on the surface of meat, which is generally stored in a much more oxygen-rich atmosphere.

Related Articles


Researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna have now solved the puzzle, showing that Campylobacter can survive ambient oxygen levels thanks to the presence of other bacteria, species of Pseudomonas. The interaction between the different species seems to be a mechanism for Campylobacter to remain viable on chicken meat and thus to infect humans. The results are published in the current issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology and provide important clues to combating enteritis in humans.

Many a holiday is ruined by food poisoning, frequently caused by the bacterium Campylobacter jejuni. Although Campylobacter infections are rarely life-threatening they are extremely debilitating and have been linked with the development of Guillain-Barré syndrome, one of the leading causes of non-trauma-induced paralysis worldwide.

Campylobacter jejuni is well adapted to life in the guts of animals and birds, where it is often found in very high levels. However, to infect humans it also needs to be able to survive outside the gut, on the surface of meat that will be eaten by humans. It is known that C. jejuni cannot grow under normal atmospheric conditions -- the levels of oxygen are too high for it -- so how it survives was until recently unknown. The mystery has now been solved by Friederike Hilbert and colleagues at the Institute of Meat Hygiene, Meat Technology and Food Science of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.

The surface of meat harbours a number of species of bacteria that -- fortunately -- are rarely harmful to humans, although they are associated with spoilage. It seems possible that the various species interact and Hilbert hypothesized that such interactions might help bacteria such as Campylobacter jejuni survive under hostile, oxygen-rich conditions. She thus tested the survival of C. jejuni in the presence of various meat-spoiling bacteria. When incubated alone or together with bacteria such as Proteus mirabilis or Enterococcus faecalis, Campylobacter survived atmospheric oxygen levels for no longer than 18 hours. However, when incubated together with various strains of Pseudomonas, Campylobacter were found to survive for much longer, in some cases over 48 hours, which would be easily long enough to cause infection.

There were differences in the extent of prolonged survival depending on the sources of the Campylobacter analysed but all isolates of all strains clearly survived significantly longer in the presence of Pseudomonas bacteria than when cultured alone. And the Campylobacter cells did not change shape when cultured together with Pseudomonas under oxygen-rich conditions, unlike when they were cultured alone, providing further indications of an interaction between the species. Interestingly, there is no evidence that the Pseudomonas benefit at all from the interaction, although they effectively save the lives of the Campylobacter.

Hilbert's findings show clearly that the presence of Pseudomonas bacteria is responsible for significantly enhanced survival of the disease-causing Campylobacter bacteria on the surface of meat. The results have implications for the control of meat, especially poultry, destined for human consumption. As Hilbert says, "On the basis of this study it should be possible to elucidate new mechanisms for limiting the level of Campylobacter on chicken meat and thus the incidence of food poisoning could be much reduced."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Friederike Hilbert, Manuela Scherwitzel, Peter Paulsen and Michael P. Szostak. Survival of Campylobacter jejuni under Conditions of Atmospheric Oxygen Tension with the Support of Pseudomonas spp.. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2010; 76 (17): 5911 DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01532-10

Cite This Page:

Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. "Life-saving in the bacterial world: How Campylobacter rely on Pseudomonas to infect humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101007093617.htm>.
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. (2010, December 7). Life-saving in the bacterial world: How Campylobacter rely on Pseudomonas to infect humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101007093617.htm
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. "Life-saving in the bacterial world: How Campylobacter rely on Pseudomonas to infect humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101007093617.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) — Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) — One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins