Stress-resistance associated with multi-host transmission and enhanced biofilm formation at 42 °C among hyper-aerotolerant generalist Campylobacter jejuni

Shaimaa F. Mouftah, José F. Cobo-Díaz, Avelino Álvarez-Ordóñez, Ahmed Mousa, Jessica K. Calland, Ben Pascoe, Samuel K. Sheppard, Mohamed Elhadidy

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One of the emerging conundrums of Campylobacter food-borne illness is the bacterial ability to survive stressful environmental conditions. We evaluated the heterogeneity among 90 C. jejuni and 21 C. coli isolates from different sources in Egypt with respect to biofilm formation capabilities (under microaerobic and aerobic atmosphere) and resistance to a range of stressors encountered along the food chain (aerobic stress, refrigeration, freeze-thaw, heat, peracetic acid, and osmotic stress). High prevalence (63%) of hyper-aerotolerant (HAT) isolates was observed, exhibiting also a significantly high tolerance to heat, osmotic stress, refrigeration, and freeze-thaw stress, coupled with high biofilm formation ability which was clearly enhanced under aerobic conditions, suggesting a potential link between stress adaptation and biofilm formation. Most HAT multi-stress resistant and strong biofilm producing C. jejuni isolates belonged to host generalist clonal complexes (ST-21, ST-45, ST-48 and ST-206). These findings highlight the potential role of oxidative stress response systems in providing cross-protection (resistance to other multiple stress conditions) and enhancing biofilm formation in Campylobacter and suggest that selective pressures encountered in hostile environments have shaped the epidemiology of C. jejuni in Egypt by selecting the transmission of highly adapted isolates, thus promoting the colonization of multiple host species by important disease-causing lineages.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103706
JournalFood Microbiology
Early online date6 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021

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