Biofilm Formation of Listeria monocytogenes Strains Under Food Processing Environments and Pan-Genome-Wide Association Study

Front Microbiol. 2019 Nov 21:10:2698. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02698. eCollection 2019.


Concerns about food contamination by Listeria monocytogenes are on the rise with increasing consumption of ready-to-eat foods. Biofilm production of L. monocytogenes is presumed to be one of the ways that confer its increased resistance and persistence in the food chain. In this study, a collection of isolates from foods and food processing environments (FPEs) representing persistent, prevalent, and rarely detected genotypes was evaluated for biofilm forming capacities including adhesion and sessile biomass production under diverse environmental conditions. The quantity of sessile biomass varied according to growth conditions, lineage, serotype as well as genotype but association of clonal complex (CC) 26 genotype with biofilm production was evidenced under cold temperature. In general, relative biofilm productivity of each strain varied inconsistently across growth conditions. Under our experimental conditions, there were no clear associations between biofilm formation efficiency and persistent or prevalent genotypes. Distinct extrinsic factors affected specific steps of biofilm formation. Sudden nutrient deprivation enhanced cellular adhesion while a prolonged nutrient deficiency impeded biofilm maturation. Salt addition increased biofilm production, moreover, nutrient limitation supplemented by salt significantly stimulated biofilm formation. Pan-genome-wide association study (Pan-GWAS) assessed genetic composition with regard to biofilm phenotypes for the first time. The number of reported genes differed depending on the growth conditions and the number of common genes was low. However, a broad overview of the ontology contents revealed similar patterns regardless of the conditions. Functional analysis showed that functions related to transformation/competence and surface proteins including Internalins were highly enriched.

Keywords: Listeria monocytogenes; NaCl; adhesion; biofilm; clonal complex; intraspecies diversity; nutrient deficiency; pan-genome-wide association study.