Gastrointestinal ailments may be due to acrobacteria lodged in common foods

The MikroIker team from the Department of Immunology, Microbiology and Parasitology of the UPV/EHU has determined the presence of different species of the genus Arcobacter in a variety of commonly consumed foods, which can cause gastrointestinal diseases .

As reported by the Basque public university in a press release, the team carried out a study on the prevalence and characterization of bacteria of the genus Arcobacter with a large number of food samples such as seafood, vegetables, meat products and fresh cheese, including some never before seen analyzed in the environment.

Similarly, they conducted the study of the ability of these bacteria to adhere to different surfaces frequently encountered in food environments.

The increase in the discovery of Arcobacter in food samples of all kinds raises public health concerns, he said, because very little is still known about the pathogenic potential of Arcobacter species. However, they pointed out that the few studies that have been conducted show a large number of host species and transmission routes.

Several species of the genus Arcobacter are considered emerging foodborne pathogens and can cause gastrointestinal illness.

Therefore, in order to know the risk associated with the presence of this bacterium in food, the objective of this work is, on the one hand, to determine the presence of this pathogen in a wide range of products which have never been studied so far. , to assess the genetic diversity and the presence of virulence genes and, finally, to observe the ability of these pathogens to stick to a surface, such as glass, plastic or steel, whether we commonly found in food processing materials and environments, as reported by researcher Irati Martinez Malax-etxebarria.

A total of 220 samples

In the work, a total of 220 samples from three major food groups such as farm animals, marine animals and vegetables were analyzed and Arcobacter was detected in 22.3% of the samples analyzed and the species most most abundant in each of them was A butzleri, the species that is most often associated with human diseases, although other species have also appeared,” said the UPV/EHU researcher.

He also assured that all species have been observed to have genes associated with virulent capacities, that is, genes that could give the bacterium the ability to cause infections and diseases in humans. man.

Similarly, baby squid has been found to be a significant source of Arcobacter, so raw consumption of these products could be a significant source of infection for humans, and a case has also been detected in a piece of fresh cheese, probably associated with cross-contamination. since it was a product purchased by the cut, added the author of the book.

In the vegetables analyzed, lettuce, spinach, carrot, chard, reports Martinez Malax-etxebarria, the bacteria appeared in all types except chard, while curiously, he pointed out, all the lettuce and chard which gave a positive result have been packaged, which makes “think a little, because often when we buy processed foods, we do not pay attention to their cleanliness”.

She also said that a species has been detected in the carrots which until now has never been characterized and which also has “virulence genes”.

In addition, the results confirm the formation of biofilms by foodborne Arcobacter bacteria on the various surfaces in contact with food and under the conditions in which the tests were carried out, it was observed that glass surfaces favor the “survival and growth of bacteria”, comments the UPV/EHU researcher.

According to Irati Martinez, “this is the first time that the presence of Arcobacter species in fresh cheese from Burgos and carrots has been reported. In addition, we report that crustaceans, in particular squid, are an important source of adherent Arcobacteriaceae”.

According to him, “these results must be taken into account because of their possible implications for food safety, since Burgos cheese is a ready-to-eat product, and carrots and shellfish are frequently consumed undercooked or raw”.

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