Research – Functional Characterisation of Germinant Receptors in Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium sporogenes Presents Novel Insights into Spore Germination Systems

Plos Pathogens

Clostridium botulinum is a dangerous pathogen that forms the highly potent botulinum toxin, which when ingested causes a deadly neuroparalytic disease. The closely related Clostridium sporogenes is occasionally pathogenic, frequently associated with food spoilage and regarded as the non-toxigenic equivalent of Group I C. botulinum. Both species form highly resistant spores that are ubiquitous in the environment and which, under favourable growth conditions germinate to produce vegetative cells. To improve the control of botulinum neurotoxin-forming clostridia, it is imperative to comprehend the mechanisms by which spores germinate. Germination is initiated following the recognition of small molecules (germinants) by a specific germinant receptor (GR) located in the spore inner membrane. The present study precisely defines clostridial GRs, germinants and co-germinants. Group I C. botulinum ATCC3502 contains two tricistronic and one pentacistronic GR operons, while C. sporogenes ATCC15579 has three tricistronic and one tetracistronic GR operons. Insertional knockout mutants, allied with characterisation of recombinant GRs shows for the first time that amino acid stimulated germination in C. botulinum requires two tri-cistronic encoded GRs which act in synergy and cannot function individually. Spore germination in C. sporogenes requires one tri-cistronic GR. Two other GRs form part of a complex involved in controlling the rate of amino-acid stimulated germination. The suitability of using C. sporogenes as a substitute for C. botulinum in germination studies and food challenge tests is discussed.

Denmark – Officials kept yet another food scandal secret?

The Local

Up to 130 people, including a three-year-old boy, may have gotten ill from salmonella in ground beef in an outbreak that was kept hidden from the public until now.


Canada – CFIA Recall – Listeria monocytogenes in Hommous Update


The food safety warning issued on September 26, 2014 has been amended to correctly identify the affected codes for the Peppo’s Foods brand Hommous. The corrections for these products are marked by an asterisk (*) below.

Peppo’s Foods is recalling Hommous from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below. Retailers, restaurants and institutions should not sell or use the recalled product described below due to Listeria monocytogenes.

Affected products

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Peppo’s Foods Hommous 1 kg JL201404-8, JL201404-9, AU201409-7*, AU201412-13, AU201422-11, AU201422-12, AU201422-13, AU201422-14, AU201422-15, AU201420-13, SE201404-5, SE201404-6, JL201418-8, JL201418-11, SE201413-6, SE201413-7 None

Research – Reservoirs of Listeria Species in Three Environmental Ecosystems

American Society for Microbiology

Soil and water are suggested to represent pivotal niches for the transmission of Listeria monocytogenes to plant material, animals and the food chain. In the present study, 467 soil and 68 water samples were collected in 12 distinct geological and ecological sites in Austria during 2007-2009. Listeria spp. was present in 30% and 26% of the investigated soil and water samples respectively. Generally, the most dominant species in soil and water samples were L. seeligeri, L. innocua and L. ivanovii. The human and animal pathogenic L. monocytogenes was exclusively isolated from 6% soil samples in region A (mountainous region) and B (meadow). Distinct ecological preferences were observed for L. seeligeri and L. ivanovii, which were more often isolated from wildlife reserves region C (Lake Neusiedl) and from sites in the proximity to wild and domestic ruminants (region A). The higher L. monocytogenes detection and antibiotic resistances in region A and B could be explained by the proximity to agricultural land and urban environment. L. monocytogenes multi-locus sequence typing corroborated this evidence since sequence type (ST) ST37, ST91, ST101, and ST517 were repeatedly isolated from regions A and B over several months. A higher L. monocytogenes detection and strain variability was observed during flooding of the river Schwarza (region A) and Danube (region B) in September 2007, indicating dispersion via watercourses.

Denmark – Three Deaths Traced to New Listeria Outbreak – Asparagus Soup

The Local

Three people have died from listeria-infested asparagus soup at Odense University Hospital.

The deaths are a result of a new listeria outbreak and are not related to the one that has been traced to the deli meat rullepølse, which has claimed 16 lives.
“There are two different outbreaks and they are not connected. In the asparagus soup, it is a completely different strain of listeria than in the rullepølse outbreak. The deaths we have listed on our website are only from the rullepølse outbreak,” Tyra Grove Krause of the Danish State Serum Institute (SSI) told Ritzau news agency.

USA – E.coli Outbreak -Was it Raw Milk?

Food Safety News imagesCAZ9J1WP

The five Kentucky children hospitalized in an E. coli outbreak earlier this month all consumed milk from the same raw milk dairy, according to multiple reports and the mother of one of the sickened children.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health has not announced the source of the outbreak. Microbial testing of animals, milk samples, and environmental samples from the dairy in question came back negative for E. coli.

Australia – FSANZ Recall – Blue Cheese and Pistachio Dip – Salmonella


Fresh Fodder Pty Ltd has recalled their Blue Cheese & Pistachio dip from independent outlets such as IGA supermarkets, fruit shops and delicatessens in the ACT, NSW and VIC. The recall is due to Salmonella contamination. Food products contaminated with Salmonella may cause illness if consumed. Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.