Salmonella is an important cause of bacterial food-borne gastroenteritis. Salmonella encounters multiple abiotic stresses during pathogen elimination methods used in food processing, and these stresses may influence its subsequent survivability within the host or in the environment. Upon ingestion, Salmonella is exposed to gastrointestinal acidity, a first line of the host innate defense system. This study tested the hypothesis that abiotic stresses encountered during food processing alter the metabolic mechanisms in Salmonella that enable survival and persistence during subsequent exposure to the host gastrointestinal acidic environment. Out of the four different abiotic stresses tested, viz., cold, peroxide, osmotic, and acid, preadaptation of the log-phase culture to cold stress (5°C for 5 h) significantly enhanced survival during subsequent acid stress (pH 4.0 for 90 min). The gene expression profile of Salmonella preadapted to cold stress revealed induction of multiple genes associated with amino acid metabolism, oxidative stress, and DNA repair, while only a few of the genes in the above-mentioned stress response and repair pathways were induced upon exposure to acid stress alone. Preadaptation to cold stress decreased the NAD+/NADH ratio and hydroxyl (OH·) radical formation compared with those achieved with the exposure to acid stress alone, indicating alteration of aerobic respiration and the oxidative state of the bacteria. The results from this study suggest that preadaptation to cold stress rescues Salmonella from the deleterious effect of subsequent acid stress exposure by induction of genes involved in stress response and repair pathways, by modification of aerobic respiration, and by redox modulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Food Science