La revue Viandes et produits carnés

La revue française de la recherche en viandes et produits carnés  ISSN  2555-8560

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Microbiological security of beef

The bovine gastrointestinal tract is the main reservoir for enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) responsible for food-borne infections. Some compounds (carbohydrates included in the mucus layer, ethanolamine from the membranes of epithelial cells or bacteria) are required for an optimal growth of EHEC in the intestine of ruminants. Bacterial strains, such as probiotics, with a high affinity for these compounds, could be added into the ruminant diet, depriving EHEC strains of these nutrients and consequently limiting the shedding of EHEC in animals and food contamination.
We show that EHEC use sugar coming from the mucus layer of the intestine very efficiently. The EHEC strains need to assimilate mannose, N-acetyl-glucosamine, N-acetyl neuraminic acid and galactose for maximal growth. In addition, we show that the use of ethanolamine (EA) as a source of nitrogen is also required for an optimal development of EHEC in the animal’s intestine. EA is a major component of the cell membrane of animals, plants and bacteria that can be released in the digestive tract of the ruminant.
Although EHEC strains are present in small quantities in the intestine, they assimilate mannose, N-acetyl glucosamine and N-acetyl neuraminic acid more rapidly and efficiently than the bacteria of the intestinal microbiota, even though the enzymes necessary for assimilating EA are absent from the microbiota bacteria. The EHEC strains have therefore specialized themselves in the use of compounds that are poorly or not assimilated by the bacteria of the intestinal microbiota, therefore creating an ecological niche for EHEC strains.
Studies must be performed to identify the probiotic strains (yeast or lactic acid bacteria) that compete with EHEC for these different components. These probiotics, added in large quantities to an animal’s diet, will therefore deprive the EHEC strains of important nutrients therefore limiting the carriage of EHEC strains by the animal and contamination of food.


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