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Marc Heyndrickx

Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO)
Technology & Food Unit
Melle, Belgium
Marc Heyndrickx has made his PhD in Microbiology in 1991 at the Ghent University (Belgium) on Clostridium fermentations and conducted a post-doc in the same lab on the revision and improvement of the Bacillus taxonomy by a polyphasic taxonomic approach. Since 1997, he is a tenured researcher at the Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), where he leads as scientific director from 2002 onwards a research team on food safety. In this function, he is responsible for the scientific research on chemical and microbiological food safety, with a special emphasis on detection, identification, typing, virulence expression and remediation of zoonotic foodborne pathogens (Salmonella, Campylobacter, shigatoxin producing E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus) and other zoonotic pathogens (MRSA, coagulase-negative staphylococci), spoilage organisms or enzymes (a.o. Pseudomonas, Pseudoalteromonas, Psychrobacter, sporeformers, moulds) in food (especially dairy products but also including fish and shellfish), mycotoxin producing moulds in feeds. Specific or special techniques used are high resolution molecular typing (a.o. AFLP, PFGE, MLVA, rep-PCR), identification by sequencing, real-time PCR for microbial gene expression and bacterial quantification, microbiota profiling by DGGE, cytotoxicity assays, LC-MS detection and quantification of biotoxins (e.g. mycotoxins), in vitro simulation of gastrointestinal tract by fermentation.
Marc Heyndrickx is member of the Superior Health Council of Belgium, section Food and Health including food safety.
Marc Heyndrickx is visiting professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Ghent University (Belgium), with zoonotic bacterial pathogens as subject.

Journal articles

J Robyn, G Rasschaert, D Hermans, F Pasmans, M Heyndrickx (2013)  In vivo broiler experiments to assess anti-Campylobacter jejuni activity of a live Enterococcus faecalis strain.   Poult Sci 92: 1. 265-271 Jan  
Abstract: Bacterial gastroenteritis caused by thermotolerant Campylobacter species, mainly Campylobacter jejuni, has been the most reported zoonotic disease in many developed countries in recent years. Reducing Campylobacter shedding on the farm could result in a reduction of the number of campylobacteriosis cases. In 2 independent broiler seeder experiments, in which broiler chickens were orally inoculated with 2 amounts of Enterococcus faecalis MB 5259, we established whether a live E. faecalis strain was capable of reducing cecal Campylobacter colonization in broiler chickens. In previous in vitro experiments it has been demonstrated that this E. faecalis MB 5259 displays anti-Campylobacter activity. The effect of pH and bile salts on E. faecalis MB 5259 showed that growth and survival of E. faecalis MB 5259 can be impaired during passage through the gastrointestinal tract of broiler chickens. Despite these results E. faecalis MB 5259 was capable of colonizing the broiler ceca. Contrary to the in vitro experiments, in which E. faecalis MB 5259 inhibited C. jejuni MB 4185 growth, no inhibition was observed in the in vivo experiments independent of the inoculum size.
David Hermans, Frank Pasmans, Winy Messens, An Martel, Filip Van Immerseel, Geertrui Rasschaert, Marc Heyndrickx, Kim Van Deun, Freddy Haesebrouck (2012)  Poultry as a host for the zoonotic pathogen Campylobacter jejuni.   Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis 12: 2. 89-98 Feb  
Abstract: Campylobacteriosis is the most reported foodborne gastroenteritic disease and poses a serious health burden in industrialized countries. Disease in humans is mainly caused by the zoonotic pathogen Campylobacter jejuni. Due to its wide-spread occurrence in the environment, the epidemiology of Campylobacter remains poorly understood. It is generally accepted, however, that chickens are a natural host for Campylobacter jejuni, and for Campylobacter spp. in general, and that colonized broiler chicks are the primary vector for transmitting this pathogen to humans. Several potential sources and vectors for transmitting C. jejuni to broiler flocks have been identified. Initially, one or a few broilers can become colonized at an age of >2 weeks until the end of rearing, after which the infection will rapidly spread throughout the entire flock. Such a flock is generally colonized until slaughter and infected birds carry a very high C. jejuni load in their gastrointestinal tract, especially the ceca. This eventually results in contaminated carcasses during processing, which can transmit this pathogen to humans. Recent genetic typing studies showed that chicken isolates can frequently be linked to human clinical cases of Campylobacter enteritis. However, despite the increasing evidence that the chicken reservoir is the number one risk factor for disease in humans, no effective strategy exists to reduce Campylobachter prevalence in poultry flocks, which can in part be explained by the incomplete understanding of the epidemiology of C. jejuni in broiler flocks. As a result, the number of human campylobacteriosis cases associated with the chicken vector remains strikingly high.
I Dewaele, H Van Meirhaeghe, G Rasschaert, M Vanrobaeys, E De Graef, L Herman, R Ducatelle, M Heyndrickx, K De Reu (2012)  Persistent Salmonella Enteritidis environmental contamination on layer farms in the context of an implemented national control program with obligatory vaccination.   Poult Sci 91: 2. 282-291 Feb  
Abstract: The aim of this study was to closely examine the Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis environmental contamination on persistently positive layer farms in Belgium during successive laying cycles. All of the farms were required to vaccinate their layers under the national control program for Salmonella. Seven farms with previous or current Salmonella Enteritidis contamination were monitored during different stages of the laying period and after cleaning and disinfection (CD). Environmental samples, including from the equipment and vermin, were taken in the henhouse and egg-collecting area. Dilutions were performed to define the degree of Salmonella Enteritidis contamination. Eggshells, egg contents, and ceca were also tested for Salmonella. At the end of the first sampled laying period, 41.6% of the environmental samples were contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis. After CD, the prevalence dropped to 11.4%. On average, the prevalence in the second laying period increased again: 17.8, 18.4, and 22.3% at the onset, middle, and end of the lay period, respectively. After CD before the third laying period, the prevalence decreased to 6.6% and stabilized at the onset of lay (6.3%). During lay, as well as after CD, a wide variety of contaminated environmental samples were found; for example, in the henhouse, in the egg-collecting area, on mobile equipment and in or on vermin. In the henhouse during laying, the most recurrent and highly contaminated sites were the overshoes, floor, manure belt, and hen feces. The egg-collecting area had a significantly higher number of contaminated samples compared with that of the henhouse. For both sites, the floor appeared to be the most suitable sampling site to estimate the Salmonella Enteritidis status of the farms. Eggshell and egg content contamination varied between 0.18 and 1.8% and between 0.04 and 0.4%, respectively. In total, 2.2% of the analyzed ceca contained Salmonella Enteritidis. This study revealed that Salmonella Enteritidis is present in the environment of persistently Salmonella Enteritidis-contaminated layer farms, demonstrated that in many cases Salmonella Enteritidis contamination was not eliminated after CD, and identified the egg-collecting area as a critical point on most farms.
V Piessens, S De Vliegher, B Verbist, G Braem, A Van Nuffel, L De Vuyst, M Heyndrickx, E Van Coillie (2012)  Intra-species diversity and epidemiology varies among coagulase-negative Staphylococcus species causing bovine intramammary infections.   Vet Microbiol 155: 1. 62-71 Feb  
Abstract: Although many studies report coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) as the predominant cause of subclinical bovine mastitis, their epidemiology is poorly understood. In the current study, the genetic diversity within four CNS species frequently associated with bovine intramammary infections, Staphylococcus haemolyticus, S. simulans, S. chromogenes, and S. epidermidis, was determined. For epidemiological purposes, CNS genotypes recovered from bovine milk collected on six Flemish dairy farms were compared with those from the farm environment, and their distribution within the farms was investigated. Genetic diversity was assessed by two molecular typing techniques, amplification fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis. Subtyping revealed the highest genetic heterogeneity among S. haemolyticus isolates. A large variety of genotypes was found among environmental isolates, of which several could be linked with intramammary infection, indicating that the environment could act as a potential source for infection. For S. simulans, various genotypes were found in the environment, but a link with IMI was less obvious. For S. epidermidis and S. chromogenes, genetic heterogeneity was limited and the sporadic isolates from environment displayed largely the same genotypes as those from milk. The higher clonality of the S. epidermidis and S. chromogenes isolates from milk suggests that specific genotypes probably disseminate within herds and are more udder-adapted. Environmental sources and cow-to-cow transmission both seem to be involved in the epidemiology of CNS, although their relative importance might substantially vary between species.
K Verstraete, J Robyn, J Del-Favero, P De Rijk, M - A Joris, L Herman, M Heyndrickx, L De Zutter, K De Reu (2012)  Evaluation of a multiplex-PCR detection in combination with an isolation method for STEC O26, O103, O111, O145 and sorbitol fermenting O157 in food.   Food Microbiol 29: 1. 49-55 Feb  
Abstract: The aim of the current study was to evaluate a multiplex PCR (mPCR) detection test combined with the evaluation of a previously described isolation method. Minced beef, raw-milk cheese and sprouted seed samples were inoculated with low amounts (7-58 cfu 25 g(-1)) of non-stressed, cold-stressed or freeze-stressed clinical STEC strains, including serogroups O26, O103, O111, O145, sorbitol fermenting (SF) O157 and non-sorbitol fermenting (NSF) O157. The inoculated pathogen was detected using a 24 h-enrichment followed by an mPCR protocol, and in parallel isolated using an enrichment step of 6 and 24 h, followed by selective plating of the enriched broth and selective plating of the immunomagnetic separation (IMS) product. Recovery results were evaluated and compared. Successful mPCR detection and isolation was obtained for non-stressed and cold-stressed STEC cells in minced beef and raw-milk cheese samples, except for serogroups O111 and SF O157. For freeze-stressed cells and sprouted seed samples, false negatives were often found. Isolation was better after 24 h-enrichment compared to 6 h-enrichment. IMS improved in some cases the isolation of non-stressed and cold-stressed cells belonging to serogroups O111 and O157 from minced beef and raw-milk cheese and freeze-stressed cells of all tested serogroups from minced beef.
J Robyn, G Rasschaert, W Messens, F Pasmans, M Heyndrickx (2012)  Screening for lactic acid bacteria capable of inhibiting Campylobacter jejuni in in vitro simulations of the broiler chicken caecal environment.   Benef Microbes 3: 4. 299-308 Dec  
Abstract: Thermotolerant Campylobacter spp., specifically Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli, are the most common bacterial causes of human gastroenteritis in developed countries. Consumption of improperly prepared poultry products and cross contamination are among the main causes of human campylobacteriosis. The aim of this study was to identify lactic acid bacterial (LAB) strains capable of inhibiting C. jejuni growth in initial in vitro trials ('spot-on-lawn' method), as well as in batch fermentation studies mimicking the broiler caecal environment. These experiments served as an indication for using these strains to decrease the capability of Campylobacter to colonise and grow in the chicken caeca during primary production, with the aim of reducing the number of human campylobacteriosis cases. A total of 1,150 LAB strains were screened for anti-Campylobacter activity. Six strains were selected: members of the species Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus agilis, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus salivarius, Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium. After treatment with catalase, proteinase K and a-chymotrypsin, anti-Campylobacter activity of cell-free culture supernatant fluid (CSF) for all six strains was retained, which indicated that activity was probably not exerted by bacteriocin production. Based on the activity found in CSF, the compounds produced by the selected strains are secreted and do not require presence of live bacterial producer cells for activity. During initial in vitro fermentation experiments, the E. faecalis strain exhibited the highest inhibitory activity for C. jejuni and was selected for further fermentation experiments. In these experiments we tested for therapeutic or protective effects of the E. faecalis strain against C. jejuni MB 4185 infection under simulated broiler caecal growth conditions. The best inhibition results were obtained when E. faecalis was inoculated before the C. jejuni strain, lowering C. jejuni counts at least one log compared to a positive control. This effect was already observed 6 h after C. jejuni inoculation.
David Hermans, Frank Pasmans, Marc Heyndrickx, Filip Van Immerseel, An Martel, Kim Van Deun, Freddy Haesebrouck (2012)  A tolerogenic mucosal immune response leads to persistent Campylobacter jejuni colonization in the chicken gut.   Crit Rev Microbiol 38: 1. 17-29 Feb  
Abstract: Campylobacter enteritis is the most reported zoonotic disease in many developed countries where it imposes a serious health burden. Campylobacter transmission to humans occurs primarily through the chicken vector. Chicks are regarded as a natural host for Campylobacter species and are colonized with C. jejuni in particular. But despite carrying a very high bacterial load in their gastrointestinal tract, these birds, in contrast to humans, do not develop pathological signs. It seems that in chickens C. jejuni principally harbors in the cecal mucosal crypts, where an inefficient inflammatory response fails to clear the bacterium from the gut. Recent intensive research resulted in an increased insight into the cross talk between C. jejuni and its avian host. This review discusses the chicken intestinal mucosal immune response upon C. jejuni entrance, leading to tolerance and persistent cecal colonization. It might in addition provide a solid base for further research regarding this topic aiming to fully understand the host-bacterium dynamics of C. jejuni in chicks and to develop effective control measures to clear this zoonotic pathogen from poultry lines.
Karen Verstraete, Lieven De Zutter, Joris Robyn, Georges Daube, Lieve Herman, Marc Heyndrickx, Marie-Athénaïs de Schaetzen, Koen De Reu (2012)  Validation of a method for simultaneous isolation of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26, O103, O111, and O145 from minced beef by an international ring-trial.   Foodborne Pathog Dis 9: 5. 412-417 May  
Abstract: An isolation method described by Possé et al. (FEMS Microbiol Lett 2008;282:124-131) was satisfactorily validated in an international ring-trial using artificially contaminated minced beef samples. Until now, no validated method existed for the simultaneous isolation of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli serogroups O26, O103, O111, and O145 in food. Twelve laboratories from five European countries participated and received 16 inoculated beef samples contaminated with cold-stressed cells of the four serogroups O26, O103, O111, and O145 in two levels (approximately 30 and 300 CFU 25âgâ»Â¹) in duplicate. In addition, they received four non-inoculated samples. The isolation protocol comprised a selective enrichment step, a selective isolation step on a non-O157 agar plate differentiating the serogroups by color, followed by confirmation by plating on confirmation agar media and agglutination. All laboratories were able to isolate the inoculated serogroups from the samples, both for the high and the low inoculation level. Results did not differ whether in-house-prepared or ready-to-use non-O157 agar plates were used, demonstrating that by following the instructions laboratories managed to perform the complete protocol with success.
Bert Noseda, Md Tariqul Islam, Markus Eriksson, Marc Heyndrickx, Koen De Reu, Herman Van Langenhove, Frank Devlieghere (2012)  Microbiological spoilage of vacuum and modified atmosphere packaged Vietnamese Pangasius hypophthalmus fillets.   Food Microbiol 30: 2. 408-419 Jun  
Abstract: This study investigated the identity, growth and metabolite production of micro-organisms causing spoilage of Pangasius hypophthalmus fillets packaged in air, vacuum and modified atmospheres (MAP) (MAP 1: 50%CO(2)-50%N(2) and MAP 2: 50%CO(2)-50%O(2)) during storage at 4 °C. Based on the time it took for psychrotrophic total colony counts to exceed 7 log cfu g(-1), the shelf life of the fillets packaged in air, vacuum, MAP 1 and MAP 2 was estimated to be 7, 10, 12 and 14 days respectively. The longest lag phases were observed in the samples packaged in MAP 2 (50%CO(2)-50%O(2)). In the fillets packaged in air and under vacuum, the dominant flora identified by partial 16S rDNA sequencing at the end of the shelf life generally consisted of Gram-negative bacteria mostly belonging to the genera Serratia and Pseudomonas. In contrast, lactic acid bacteria (Carnobacterium maltaromaticum and Carnobacterium divergens) and Brochothrix thermosphacta were identified as the dominant spoilage flora in the samples packaged under the two MAPs investigated. By means of solid-phase microextraction gas chromatography mass spectrometry (SPME GC-MS) analysis, volatile organic compounds in the headspace of the samples at the end of the shelf life were identified for each packaging condition. Based on these results, a selective ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS) method was developed to quantify the production of volatile metabolites during storage of the fillets. The results of these analyses indicated that several compounds contributed to the bacterial spoilage of Pangasius fillets e.g., ethanol, 2,3-butanediol, diacetyl, acetoin, ethyl acetate, acetic acid and sulfur compounds. It also emerged that the production of these compounds was dependent on the packaging condition applied.
Gorik Braem, Sarne De Vliegher, Bert Verbist, Marc Heyndrickx, Frédéric Leroy, Luc De Vuyst (2012)  Culture-independent exploration of the teat apex microbiota of dairy cows reveals a wide bacterial species diversity.   Vet Microbiol 157: 3-4. 383-390 Jun  
Abstract: Due to their close proximity to the mammary gland tissue, the bacterial communities lining the teat apex of the udders from lactating cows influence udder health. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of the amplified V3 variable region of the 16S rRNA gene was used as a culture-independent method to reveal the bacterial composition of 48 samples originating from the teat apices of twelve Friesian-Holstein dairy cows suffering from clinical mastitis in one quarter. The microbiota belonged to four bacterial phyla: the Actinobacteria (32% of all genera), the Bacteroidetes (1%), the Firmicutes (42%), and the Proteobacteria (25%), encompassing 17 bacterial genera. Some differences in occurrence of these genera were seen when comparing quarters that were non-infected (n=22), subclinically infected (n=14), or clinically infected (n=12). Besides commensal skin-associated bacteria, opportunistic pathogenic bacteria, and mastitis-causing pathogens were found as well. The species diversity varied considerably among the most prevalent bacterial genera. While Corynebacterium and Staphylococcus displayed a large diversity among the recovered sequences, indicating the possible presence of a variety of different species, only a single bacterial species (represented by one sequence) was obtained for the genera Aerococcus, Acinetobacter, and Psychrobacter. In conclusion, introducing culture-independent analysis of teat apical skin swabs in mastitis research revealed an unexpected wide bacterial diversity, with variations between quarters with a different clinical status. In addition to potential mastitis-causing pathogens, it exposed the yet poorly mapped presence of skin-associated and other bacteria residing in close proximity to the mammary gland tissue. PCR-DGGE may thus be considered as a useful tool for the entanglement of animal skin microbiota, in casu the teat apices of dairy cows.
Marc Heyndrickx, An Coorevits, Patsy Scheldeman, Liesbeth Lebbe, P Schumann, Marína Rodríguez-Diaz, Gillian Forsyth, Anna Dinsdale, Jeroen Heyrman, Niall A Logan, Paul De Vos (2012)  Emended descriptions of Bacillus sporothermodurans and Bacillus oleronius with the inclusion of dairy farm isolates of both species.   Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 62: Pt 2. 307-314 Feb  
Abstract: Bacillus sporothermodurans is an industrially important micro-organism because of its ability to produce endospores which resist ultra-high temperature (UHT) and industrial sterilization processes. It was described by Pettersson et al. (1996) [Pettersson, B., Lembke, F., Hammer, P., Stackebrandt, E. & Priest, F. G. (1996). Int J Syst Bacteriol 46, 759-764] based on seven genetically homogeneous isolates all from UHT milk. Bacillus oleronius, the closest phylogenetic neighbour of B. sporothermodurans, was described by Kuhnigk et al. (1995) [Kuhnigk, T., Borst, E.-M., Breunig, A., König, H., Collins, M. D., Hutson, R. A. & Kämpfer, P. (1995). Can J Microbiol 41, 699-706] based on a single strain, isolated from the hindgut of the termite Reticulitermes santonensis. A polyphasic study of a heterogeneous collection of B. sporothermodurans and B. oleronius strains isolated from various sources and geographical origins led to an emended description of both species. Additional data presented are the results of fatty acid, quinone and/or cell wall (polar lipid) analyses. DNA-DNA hybridization confirmed 3 subgroups of strains obtained after SDS-PAGE analysis of cellular proteins as B. sporothermodurans. One named B. sporothermodurans strain (R-7489) was reclassified as a Bacillus fordii strain. The phenotypic profiles of both species were rather heterogeneous, sometimes different from the original descriptions and did not differ in a large number of characteristics, although B. oleronius generally gave stronger reactions in its positive tests than did B. sporothermodurans; the variable and weak reactions for both organisms with some substrates blurred the distinction between the two. However, differences in polar lipid, SDS-PAGE and menaquinone profiles clearly allow distinction between the two species.
Joris Michiels, Joris Missotten, Geertrui Rasschaert, Noël Dierick, Marc Heyndrickx, Stefaan De Smet (2012)  Effect of organic acids on Salmonella colonization and shedding in weaned piglets in a seeder model.   J Food Prot 75: 11. 1974-1983 Nov  
Abstract: Piglets (n = 128) weaned at 21 days of age were used in a 35-day seeder model to evaluate the effects of dietary additives differing in active ingredients, chemical, and physical formulation, and dose on Salmonella colonization and shedding and intestinal microbial populations. Treatments were a negative control (basal diet), the positive control (challenged, basal diet), and six treatments similar to the positive control but supplemented with the following active ingredients (dose excluding essential oils or natural extracts): triglycerides with butyric acid (1.30 g kg(-1)); formic and citric acids and essential oils (2.44 g kg(-1)); coated formic, coated sorbic, and benzoic acids (2.70 g kg(-1)); salts of formic, sorbic, acetic, and propionic acids, their free acids, and natural extracts (2.92 g kg(-1)); triglycerides with caproic and caprylic acids and coated oregano oil (1.80 g kg(-1)); and caproic, caprylic, lauric, and lactic acids (1.91 g kg(-1)). On day 6, half the piglets (seeder pigs) in each group were orally challenged with a Salmonella Typhimurium nalidixic acid-resistant strain (4 Ã 10(9) and 1.2 Ã 10(9) log CFU per pig in replicate experiments 1 and 2, respectively). Two days later, they were transferred to pens with an equal number of contact pigs. Salmonella shedding was determined 2 days after challenge exposure and then on a weekly basis. On day 34 or 35, piglets were euthanized to sample tonsils, ileocecal lymph nodes, and ileal and cecal digesta contents. The two additives, both containing short-chain fatty acids and one of them also containing benzoic acid and the other one also containing essential oils, and supplemented at more than 2.70 g kg(-1), showed evidence of reducing Salmonella fecal shedding and numbers of coliforms and Salmonella in cecal digesta. However, colonization of tonsils and ileocecal lymph nodes by Salmonella was not affected. Supplementing butyric acid and medium-chain fatty acids at the applied dose failed to inhibit Salmonella contamination in the current experimental setup.
I Dewaele, G Rasschaert, C Wildemauwe, H Van Meirhaeghe, M Vanrobaeys, E De Graef, L Herman, R Ducatelle, M Heyndrickx, K De Reu (2012)  Polyphasic characterization of Salmonella Enteritidis isolates on persistently contaminated layer farms during the implementation of a national control program with obligatory vaccination: a longitudinal study.   Poult Sci 91: 11. 2727-2735 Nov  
Abstract: Since 2007, a national Salmonella control program including obligatory vaccination has been ongoing in Belgium. In this context, the aim of the present study was to investigate the diversity of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis isolates on 5 persistently contaminated Belgian layer farms and to examine the potential sources and transmission routes of Salmonella Enteritidis contamination on the farms during successive laying rounds. A collection of 346 Salmonella isolates originating from the sampled farms were characterized using a combination of multilocus variable number of tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) and phage typing (PT). On each farm, one or 2 dominant MLVA-PT types were found during successive laying cycles. The dominant MLVA type was different for each of the individual farms, but some farms shared the same dominant phage type. Isolates recovered from hens' feces and ceca, egg contents, eggshells, vermin (mice, rats, red mites, and flies), and pets (dog and cat feces) had the same MLVA-PT type also found in the inside henhouse environment of the respective layer farm. Persistent types were identified in the layer farm inside environment (henhouse and egg collecting area). Furthermore, this study demonstrated cross-contamination of Salmonella between henhouses and between the henhouse and the egg collecting area. Additional isolates with a different MLVA-PT type were also recovered, mainly from the egg collecting area. A potential risk for cross-contamination of Salmonella between the individual layer farms and their egg trader was identified.
Hristo Najdenski, Marc Heyndrickx, Lieve Herman, Hadewig Werbrouck, Els Van Coillie (2012)  Quantification of Yersinia enterocolitica in raw milk using qPCR.   Vet Microbiol 160: 3-4. 428-434 Dec  
Abstract: This report describes a new, sensitive and specific protocol for rapid detection and quantification of Yersinia enterocolitica in artificially contaminated raw milk samples. The new method is based on an optimized real-time PCR protocol with a TaqMan probe. The primers and probe are based on the chromosomal ail gene. This method was successful for both intended uses: (1) direct detection and quantification of Y. enterocolitica in artificially and naturally contaminated raw milk samples and (2) characterization of growth potential of different serotypes of Y. enterocolitica in raw milk at the most commonly used storage temperatures. The recent method eliminates the pre-PCR enrichment step, which makes it possible to quickly assess milk-related consumer exposure to this pathogen.
Varvara Tsilia, Bart Devreese, Ilse de Baenst, Bart Mesuere, Andreja Rajkovic, Mieke Uyttendaele, Tom Van de Wiele, Marc Heyndrickx (2012)  Application of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry for the detection of enterotoxins produced by pathogenic strains of the Bacillus cereus group.   Anal Bioanal Chem 404: 6-7. 1691-1702 Oct  
Abstract: Enterotoxins produced by different species of the Bacillus cereus group, such as cytotoxin K1 (CytK1) and non-haemolytic enterotoxin (NHE), have been associated with diarrhoeal food poisoning incidents. Detection of CytK1 is not possible with commercial assays while NHE is recognised by an immunological kit (TECRA) that does not specifically target this protein because it is based on polyclonal antibodies. It is evident that the lack of suitable tools for the study of enterotoxins hampers the possibilities for accurate hazard identification and characterisation in microbial food safety risk assessment. We applied matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/MS) for the detection of CytK1 and NHE produced by pathogenic strains of the B. cereus group using protein digests from 1D gel electrophoresis. Secretion of CytK1 and two of the three components of NHE was confirmed in supernatants of different B. cereus cultures. For each protein, we introduce biomarkers that could be used for the screening of food poisoning or food/environmental isolates that can secrete enterotoxins. For example, tryptic peptides of 2,310.2 and 1,192.5 Da (calculated mass) can be indicators for CytK1 and NheA, respectively, although a simultaneous detection of other enterotoxin-specific peptides is recommended to assure the presence of a toxin in an unknown sample. Comparison of MALDI-TOF/MS with the TECRA kit showed that our methodological strategy performed well and it had the competitive advantage of specifically detecting NheA. Therefore, MALDI-TOF/MS can be successfully incorporated into risk assessment procedures in order to determine the involvement of strains of the B. cereus group in foodborne outbreaks, including the recently described cytK1 producing species, Bacillus cytotoxicus.
D Hermans, A Martel, A Garmyn, M Verlinden, M Heyndrickx, I Gantois, F Haesebrouck, F Pasmans (2012)  Application of medium-chain fatty acids in drinking water increases Campylobacter jejuni colonization threshold in broiler chicks.   Poult Sci 91: 7. 1733-1738 Jul  
Abstract: Campylobacteriosis is the most reported bacterial-mediated gastroenteritic disease in many developed countries. Broiler chickens are a natural host for Campylobacter spp., and contaminated poultry meat products are a major source for transmitting pathogenic Campylobacter strains to humans. Currently, no intervention measure efficiently and effectively controls this pathogen in poultry flocks. Medium-chain fatty acids (caproic, caprylic, capric, and lauric acids) show a marked anti-Campylobacter activity in vitro. However, in recent trials using our in vivo models, administering these acids to the feed of broiler chicks neither prevented nor reduced cecal C. jejuni colonization in broilers. In the present study, we examined whether a drinking water application of medium-chain fatty acids might be more effective in combating Campylobacter colonization in poultry. Although Campylobacter colonization and transmission was not reduced, we demonstrate that adding an emulsion of a mixture of caproic, caprylic, capric, and lauric acids to the drinking water of broiler chicks reduces their colonization susceptibility and prevents C. jejuni survival in drinking water. Thus, the merit of water applications of medium-chain fatty acids is the reduction of the probability of Campylobacter entry into and transmission throughout a flock.
Els Van Pamel, Els Daeseleire, Nikki De Clercq, Lieve Herman, Annemieke Verbeken, Marc Heyndrickx, Geertrui Vlaemynck (2012)  Restriction analysis of an amplified rodA gene fragment to distinguish Aspergillus fumigatus var. ellipticus from Aspergillus fumigatus var. fumigatus.   FEMS Microbiol Lett 333: 2. 153-159 Aug  
Abstract: A previous multidisciplinary study indicated that gliotoxin-producing Aspergillus fumigatus Fresen. isolates from silage commodities mostly belonged to its variant A. fumigatus var. ellipticus Raper & Fennell. Sequence analysis revealed the presence of a single nucleotide polymorphism at five positions in a fragment of the rodA gene (coding for a hydrophobin rodletA protein) between Aspergillus fumigatus var. fumigatus and Aspergillus fumigatus var. ellipticus. A method was developed to distinguish these two types of isolates based on restriction analysis of this rodA gene fragment using the HinfI restriction enzyme. In addition, in silico analysis of 113 rodA gene fragments retrieved from GenBank was performed and confirmed the suitability of this method. In conclusion, the method developed in this study allows easy distinction between A. fumigatus var. fumigatus and its variant ellipticus. In combination with the earlier developed PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism method of Staab et al. (2009, J Clin Microbiol 47: 2079), this method is part of a sequencing-independent identification scheme that allows for rapid distinction between similar species/variants within Aspergillus section Fumigati, specifically A. fumigatus, A. fumigatus var. ellipticus, Aspergillus lentulus Balajee & K.A. Marr, Neosartorya pseudofischeri S.W. Peterson and Neosartorya udagawae Y. Horie, Miyaji & Nishim.
G Rasschaert, J Michiels, D Arijs, C Wildemauwe, S De Smet, M Heyndrickx (2012)  Effect of farm type on within-herd Salmonella prevalence, serovar distribution, and antimicrobial resistance.   J Food Prot 75: 5. 859-866 May  
Abstract: Salmonella represents a major challenge to the pig industry, as pork presents a risk for human salmonellosis. In this study, we have examined the effect of farm type on the prevalence of fattening pigs shedding Salmonella on 12 farms at risk for harboring Salmonella. On six open (grow-to-finish) and six closed (farrow-to-finish) farms, the prevalence of pigs shedding Salmonella was determined on two occasions approximately 2 months apart. The serovar, phage type, and antimicrobial resistance of the obtained Salmonella isolates were determined. On all farms, pigs shedding Salmonella were detected on at least one of the two sampling days. The mean within-herd prevalence was 7.8%. Closed farms were two times less likely to have pigs shedding Salmonella than open farms. On open farms, the odds of finding Salmonella shedding in pigs were 1.9 times higher when sampling was performed at slaughter age than when samples were taken halfway through the fattening period. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium was the most predominant serotype, with a prevalence of 62 to 63% on both farm types. Of all the Salmonella Typhimurium isolates, 65% had the tetraresistant profile ASSuT (ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfonamide, and tetracycline) with or without additional resistance to trimethoprim-sulfonamide. Phage type DT120 seemed to be especially associated with this antimicrobial-resistant profile. The prevalence of Salmonella Typhimurium isolates showing resistance to ampicillin, streptomycin, tetracycline, sulfonamide, trimethoprim-sulfonamide, and lincomycin hydrochloride and spectinomycin sulfate tetrahydrate was significantly higher on open farms than on closed farms.
Siele Ceuppens, Mieke Uyttendaele, Katrien Drieskens, Marc Heyndrickx, Andreja Rajkovic, Nico Boon, Tom Van de Wiele (2012)  Survival and germination of Bacillus cereus spores without outgrowth or enterotoxin production during in vitro simulation of gastrointestinal transit.   Appl Environ Microbiol 78: 21. 7698-7705 Nov  
Abstract: To study the gastrointestinal survival and enterotoxin production of the food-borne pathogen Bacillus cereus, an in vitro simulation experiment was developed to mimic gastrointestinal passage in 5 phases: (i) the mouth, (ii) the stomach, with gradual pH decrease and fractional emptying, (iii) the duodenum, with high concentrations of bile and digestive enzymes, (iv) dialysis to ensure bile reabsorption, and (v) the ileum, with competing human intestinal bacteria. Four different B. cereus strains were cultivated and sporulated in mashed potato medium to obtain an inoculum of 7.0 log spores/ml. The spores showed survival and germination during the in vitro simulation of gastrointestinal passage, but vegetative outgrowth of the spores was suppressed by the intestinal bacteria during the final ileum phase. No bacterial proliferation or enterotoxin production was observed, despite the high inoculum levels. Little strain variability was observed: except for the psychrotrophic food isolate, the spores of all strains survived well throughout the gastrointestinal passage. The in vitro simulation experiments investigated the survival and enterotoxin production of B. cereus in the gastrointestinal lumen. The results obtained support the hypothesis that localized interaction of B. cereus with the host's epithelium is required for diarrheal food poisoning.
M Verhegghe, L J Pletinckx, F Crombé, T Vandersmissen, F Haesebrouck, P Butaye, M Heyndrickx, G Rasschaert (2012)  Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) ST398 in Pig Farms and Multispecies Farms.   Zoonoses Public Health Aug  
Abstract: During the last few years, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) ST398 has been isolated frequently from livestock, especially from pigs and to a lesser extent from cattle and poultry. To gain insight into the distribution of this bacterium in pig farms versus multispecies farms, 30 Belgian farms (10 pig, 10 pig/poultry and 10 pig/cattle farms) were screened for the presence of MRSA. On each farm, 10 nasal swabs were taken from pigs. When present, cattle (nâ=â10) were sampled in the nares and poultry (nâ=â10) in the nares, earlobes and cloaca. A selection of the obtained isolates were further characterized using multilocus sequence typing (MLST), spa typing, SCCmec typing, pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. On 26 of 30 farms, MRSA was isolated from pigs. Furthermore, MRSA was also isolated from poultry and cattle on one pig/poultry and five pig/cattle farms, respectively. All tested MRSA isolates belonged to ST398. Eight spa types (t011, t034, t567, t571, t1451, t2974, t3423 and t5943) were detected, among which t011 predominated. SCCmec cassettes type IVa and V were present in 20% and 72% of the isolates, respectively. When combining the results of the two remaining typing methods, PFGE and MLVA, eighteen genotypes were obtained of which one genotype predominated (56% of the positive farms). All MRSA isolates were resistant to tetracycline. Resistance to trimethoprim, aminoglycosides, macrolides, lincosamides, fluoroquinolones and chloramphenicol was also observed. In conclusion, there was no effect of the farm type on the MRSA status of the pigs. A statistically significant difference was observed when comparing the pig/poultry or the pig/cattle MRSA status on the multispecies farms. Additionally, a wide variety of MRSA ST398 strains was found within certain farms when combining different typing methods.
Marijke Verhegghe, Larissa J Pletinckx, Florence Crombé, Stephanie Van Weyenberg, Freddy Haesebrouck, Patrick Butaye, Marc Heyndrickx, Geertrui Rasschaert (2012)  Cohort study for the presence of livestock-associated MRSA in piglets: Effect of sow status at farrowing and determination of the piglet colonization age.   Vet Microbiol Sep  
Abstract: A longitudinal study was performed to determine the age at which piglets become colonized with livestock-associated MRSA and the effect of the sow MRSA status on the colonization status of their offspring. On four farrow-to-finish farms (A-D), nasal swabs were collected during a 6-month period from 12 sows and their offspring per farm. Piglets and sows were sampled throughout the nursery period. Additionally, the piglets were sampled after weaning, before and after moving to the finishing unit and before slaughterhouse transport. The environment of one pen (wall, floor and air) was sampled every time the pigs were sampled. Two MRSA colonization profiles were observed. On farms A and B, the sows' colonization prevalence reached 17% and 33%, respectively. The proportion of positive piglets remained low in the nursing unit (farm A: 0-7%, farm B: 0-36%) and increased at the end of their stay in the growing unit (farm A: 91%, farm B: 69%). On farms C and D, the sows' and piglets' colonization percentages were high from the beginning of the sampling series and finally reached 100%. On all farms, a decrease in colonization was observed towards slaughter age. The colonization age differed between farms. A statistically significant effect of the sow status at farrowing on the piglets' status was observed. The present study indicates that the sow's colonization status is important and should be included in control measures. However, the observed differences in colonization percentages among the farms complicate implementation of control measures on the farm.
Isabelle Dewaele, Geertrui Rasschaert, Sophie Bertrand, Christa Wildemauwe, Pierre Wattiau, Hein Imberechts, Lieve Herman, Richard Ducatelle, Koen De Reu, Marc Heyndrickx (2012)  Molecular characterization of Salmonella Enteritidis: comparison of an optimized multi-locus variable-number of tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.   Foodborne Pathog Dis 9: 10. 885-895 Oct  
Abstract: Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) is a genetically homogenous serovar, which makes optimal subtype discrimination crucial for epidemiological research. This study describes the development and evaluation of an optimized multiple-locus variable number tandem-repeat assay (MLVA) for characterization of SE. The typeability and discriminatory power of this MLVA was determined on a selected collection of 60 SE isolates and compared with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) using restriction enzymes XbaI, NotI, or SfiI. In addition, the estimated Wallace coefficient (W) was calculated to assess the congruence of the typing methods. Selection of epidemiologically unrelated isolates and more related isolates (originating from layer farms) was also based on the given phage type (PT). When targeting six loci, MLVA generated 16 profiles, while PFGE produced 10, 9, and 16 pulsotypes using XbaI, NotI, and SfiI, respectively, for the entire strain collection. For the epidemiologically unrelated isolates, MLVA had the highest discriminatory power and showed good discrimination between isolates from different layer farms and among isolates from the same layer farm. MLVA performed together with PT showed higher discriminatory power compared to PFGE using one restriction enzyme together with PT. Results showed that combining PT with the optimized MLVA presented here provides a rapid typing tool with good discriminatory power for characterizing SE isolates of various origins and isolates originating from the same layer farm.
V Piessens, S De Vliegher, B Verbist, G Braem, A Van Nuffel, L De Vuyst, M Heyndrickx, E Van Coillie (2012)  Characterization of coagulase-negative staphylococcus species from cows' milk and environment based on bap, icaA, and mecA genes and phenotypic susceptibility to antimicrobials and teat dips.   J Dairy Sci 95: 12. 7027-7038 Dec  
Abstract: The aim of this study was to investigate whether the main coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) species involved in bovine intramammary infections (IMI) possess specific characteristics that promote colonization of the udder. Virulence markers associated with biofilm formation, antimicrobial resistance, and biocide tolerance were compared between typically contagious CNS species (Staphylococcus chromogenes, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus haemolyticus, and Staphylococcus simulans) and those rarely causing IMI (Staphylococcus sciuri, Staphylococcus equorum, and others) to find possible associations with pathogenicity. Coagulase-negative staphylococci isolates (n=366) belonging to 22 different species were analyzed by PCR for the presence of the biofilm-associated genes bap and icaA, and the methicillin resistance gene mecA. A selection of 82 isolates was additionally tested for their susceptibility to 5 antibiotics and 2 commercial teat dip products. Minimum inhibitory concentrations of antimicrobials were determined by Etest (AB bioMérieux, Marcy l'Etoile, France), and a microdilution method was optimized to determine minimum biocidal concentrations of teat dips. The bap, icaA, and mecA genes were detected significantly more in isolates from CNS species typically living in the cows' environment than in isolates from IMI-causing species. Antimicrobial resistance was mainly against erythromycin (23%) or oxacillin (16%), and was detected more often in the environmental species. The isolates least susceptible to the teat dips belonged to the IMI-causing species Staph. chromogenes and Staph. simulans. We concluded that carriage of biofilm genes and antimicrobial resistance were not associated with the ability to colonize the mammary gland because free-living CNS species constituted a more significant reservoir of biofilm and resistance determinants than did IMI-causing species. In contrast, increased tolerance to biocides may favor the establishment of bovine IMI by some CNS species.
Choreh Farrokh, Kieran Jordan, Frederic Auvray, Kathleen Glass, Hanne Oppegaard, Sabrina Raynaud, Delphine Thevenot, Robin Condron, Koen De Reu, Alexander Govaris, Klaus Heggum, Marc Heyndrickx, Joerg Hummerjohann, Denise Lindsay, Stephane Miszczycha, Sylvie Moussiegt, Karen Verstraete, Olivier Cerf (2012)  Review of Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and their significance in dairy production.   Int J Food Microbiol Aug  
Abstract: The involvement of the pathogenic Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC; also called verocytotoxic-producing E. coli or VTEC) in sporadic cases and disease outbreaks is presently increasing. Infrequent cases are due to ingestion of milk and dairy products. As ruminants are healthy carriers of STEC and most dairy products may provide these bacteria with favourable conditions for their growth, milk and dairy products are a potential source of STEC. But not all STEC serotypes are pathogens; only relatively small numbers in the entire family of STEC are pathogenic. This review focuses on the recent advances in understanding of STEC and their significance in milk and dairy products. It is intended to gather the information that is needed to understand how these bacteria are described, detected and characterised, how they contaminate milk and grow in dairy products, and how the dairy industry can prevent them from affecting the consumer.
Siele Ceuppens, Tom Van de Wiele, Andreja Rajkovic, Tomas Ferrer-Cabaceran, Marc Heyndrickx, Nico Boon, Mieke Uyttendaele (2012)  Impact of intestinal microbiota and gastrointestinal conditions on the in vitro survival and growth of Bacillus cereus.   Int J Food Microbiol 155: 3. 241-246 Apr  
Abstract: Ingestion of B. cereus can result in diarrhea, if these bacteria survive gastrointestinal passage and achieve growth and enterotoxin production in the small intestine. The gastrointestinal survival of vegetative cells and spores of the diarrheal food poisoning strain B. cereus NVH 1230-88 was investigated during in vitro batch experiments simulating the stomach, duodenum and ileum using simulation media and competing intestinal microbiota. All spores and approx. 30% of the vegetative B. cereus cells survived the 2 h incubation in gastric medium with pH 4.0. Sterile intestinal medium induced germination of spores and enabled outgrowth of vegetative cells to approx. 7 log CFU/mL. The behavior of B. cereus in the intestinal environment with competing intestinal bacteria was determined by their relative concentrations. Besides the numbers of intestinal bacteria, the nutrition and composition of the intestinal community were also very important for the growth inhibition of B. cereus.
Davy Persoons, Jeroen Dewulf, Annemieke Smet, Lieve Herman, Marc Heyndrickx, An Martel, Boudewijn Catry, Patrick Butaye, Freddy Haesebrouck (2012)  Antimicrobial use in Belgian broiler production.   Prev Vet Med 105: 4. 320-325 Aug  
Abstract: The use of antimicrobials in production animals has become a worldwide concern in the face of rising resistance levels in commensal, pathogenic and zoonotic bacteria. In the years 2007 and 2008 antimicrobial consumption records were collected during two non consecutive production cycles in 32 randomly selected Belgian broiler farms. Antimicrobials were used in 48 of the 64 monitored production cycles, 7 farms did not use any antimicrobials in both production cycles, 2 farms only administered antimicrobials in one of the two production cycles, the other 23 farms applied antimicrobial treatment in both production cycles. For the quantification of antimicrobial drug use, the treatment incidences (TI) based on the defined daily doses (the dose as it should be applied: DDD) and used daily doses (the actual dose applied: UDD) were calculated. A mean antimicrobial treatment incidence per 1000 animals of 131.8 (standard deviation 126.8) animals treated daily with one DDD and 121.4 (SD 106.7) animals treated daily with one UDD was found. The most frequently used compounds were amoxicillin, tylosin and trimethoprim-sulphonamide with a mean TI(UDD) of 37.9, 34.8, and 21.7, respectively. The ratio of the UDD/DDD gives an estimate on correctness of dosing. Tylosin was underdosed in most of the administrations whereas amoxicillin and trimethoprim-sulphonamide were slightly overdosed in the average flock.
David Hermans, Kim Van Deun, Winy Messens, An Martel, Filip Van Immerseel, Freddy Haesebrouck, Geertrui Rasschaert, Marc Heyndrickx, Frank Pasmans (2011)  Campylobacter control in poultry by current intervention measures ineffective: urgent need for intensified fundamental research.   Vet Microbiol 152: 3-4. 219-228 Sep  
Abstract: Campylobacter-contaminated poultry meat is an important source of foodborne gastroenteritis and poses a serious health burden in industrialized countries. Broiler chickens are commonly regarded as a natural host for this pathogen and infected birds carry a very high Campylobacter load in their gastrointestinal tract, especially the ceca. This results in contaminated carcasses during processing. While hygienic measures at the farm and control measures during carcass processing can have some effect on the reduction of Campylobacter numbers on the retail product, intervention at the farm level by reducing colonization of the ceca should be taken into account in the overall control policy. This review gives an up-to-date overview of suggested on-farm control measures to reduce the prevalence and colonization of Campylobacter in poultry.
I Dewaele, R Ducatelle, L Herman, M Heyndrickx, K De Reu (2011)  Sensitivity to disinfection of bacterial indicator organisms for monitoring the Salmonella Enteritidis status of layer farms after cleaning and disinfection.   Poult Sci 90: 6. 1185-1190 Jun  
Abstract: The present study evaluated Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, and Enterococcus hirae as potential indicator organisms for the possible Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) presence in layer farms after cleaning and disinfection by comparing their susceptibility to disinfection. A quantitative suspension disinfection test according to European Standard EN1656 was performed using disinfection products CID20 and Virocid (both from CID Lines, Ieper, Belgium). In a preliminary test, the sensitivity to both disinfection products was compared between ATCC strains of SE, E. coli, En. faecalis, and En. hirae. The sensitivity of SE to disinfection was most comparable to that of E. coli. A second disinfection test compared the elimination of E. coli to SE ATCC strains as well as field strains. Results showed no significant effect regarding the strain (P > 0.05 for CID20 and Virocid), meaning that no difference was detected in sensitivity toward disinfection. When comparing the sensitivity in general at species level for all concentrations of disinfectant used, no significant difference was found between E. coli and SE in sensitivity to Virocid (P > 0.05). In conclusion, because of its similar response to disinfection in a suspension disinfection test, E. coli could be used as an indicator for possible Salmonella presence after cleaning and disinfection.
Siele Ceuppens, Andreja Rajkovic, Marc Heyndrickx, Varvara Tsilia, Tom Van De Wiele, Nico Boon, Mieke Uyttendaele (2011)  Regulation of toxin production by Bacillus cereus and its food safety implications.   Crit Rev Microbiol 37: 3. 188-213 Aug  
Abstract: Toxin expression is of utmost importance for the food-borne pathogen B. cereus, both in food poisoning and non-gastrointestinal host infections as well as in interbacterial competition. Therefore it is no surprise that the toxin gene expression is tightly regulated by various internal and environmental signals. An overview of the current knowledge regarding emetic and diarrheal toxin transcription and expression is presented in this review. The food safety aspects and management tools such as temperature control, food preservatives and modified atmosphere packaging are discussed specifically for B. cereus emetic and diarrheal toxin production.
D Persoons, F Haesebrouck, A Smet, L Herman, M Heyndrickx, A Martel, B Catry, A C Berge, P Butaye, J Dewulf (2011)  Risk factors for ceftiofur resistance in Escherichia coli from Belgian broilers.   Epidemiol Infect 139: 5. 765-771 May  
Abstract: A cross-sectional study on 32 different Belgian broiler farms was performed in 2007 and 2008 to identify risk factors for ceftiofur resistance in Escherichia coli. On each farm, one E. coli colony was isolated from 30 random birds. Following susceptibility testing of 14 antimicrobials, an on-farm questionnaire was used to obtain information on risk factors. Using a multilevel logistic regression model two factors were identified at the animal level: resistance to amoxicillin and to trimethoprim-sulfonamide. On the farm level, besides antimicrobial use, seven management factors were found to be associated with the occurrence of ceftiofur resistance in E. coli from broilers: poor hygienic condition of the medicinal treatment reservoir, no acidification of drinking water, more than three feed changes during the production cycle, hatchery of origin, breed, litter material used, and treatment with amoxicillin. This study confirms that not only on-farm antimicrobial therapy, but also management- and hatchery-related factors influence the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance.
An Coorevits, Niall A Logan, Anna E Dinsdale, Gillian Halket, Patsy Scheldeman, Marc Heyndrickx, Peter Schumann, Anita Van Landschoot, Paul De Vos (2011)  Bacillus thermolactis sp. nov., isolated from dairy farms, and emended description of Bacillus thermoamylovorans.   Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 61: Pt 8. 1954-1961 Aug  
Abstract: A polyphasic taxonomic study was performed on 22 thermotolerant, aerobic, endospore-forming bacteria from dairy environments. Seventeen isolates were retrieved from raw milk, one from a filter cloth and four from grass, straw or milking equipment. These latter four isolates (R-6546, R-7499, R-7764 and R-7440) were identified as Bacillus thermoamylovorans based on DNA-DNA hybridizations (values above 70 % with Bacillus thermoamylovorans LMG 18084(T)) but showed discrepancies in characteristics with the original species description, so an emended description of this species is given. According to 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis and DNA-DNA hybridization experiments, the remaining 18 isolates (R-6488(T), R-28193, R-6491, R-6492, R-7336, R-33367, R-6486, R-6770, R-31288, R-28160, R-26358, R-7632, R-26955, R-26950, R-33520, R-6484, R-26954 and R-7165) represented one single species, most closely related to Bacillus thermoamylovorans (93.9 % 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity), for which the name Bacillus thermolactis is proposed. Cells were Gram-stain-positive, facultatively anaerobic, endospore-forming rods that grew optimally at 40-50 °C. The cell wall peptidoglycan type of strain R-6488(T), the proposed type strain, was A1γ based on meso-diaminopimelic acid. Major fatty acids of the strains were C(16 : 0) (28.0 %), iso-C(16 : 0) (12.1 %) and iso-C(15 : 0) (12.0 %). MK-7 was the predominant menaquinone, and major polar lipids were diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol and some unidentified phospholipids. DNA G+C content was 35.0 mol%. Phenotypic properties allowed discrimination from other thermotolerant species of the genus Bacillus and supported the description of the novel species Bacillus thermolactis, with strain R-6488(T) (â=âLMG 25569(T) â= DSM 23332(T)) as the proposed type strain.
B Verbist, V Piessens, A Van Nuffel, L De Vuyst, M Heyndrickx, L Herman, E Van Coillie, S De Vliegher (2011)  Sources other than unused sawdust can introduce Klebsiella pneumoniae into dairy herds.   J Dairy Sci 94: 6. 2832-2839 Jun  
Abstract: A longitudinal study was carried out to detect intramammary infections caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae and to identify potential sources of this bacterial species in the environment of the cows. The study was performed in 6 well-managed Belgian dairy herds from May 2008 to May 2009. Monthly (n=13), unused and used sawdust bedding samples as well as individual quarter milk and feces samples were collected from 10 randomly selected cohort cows in each herd. Cases of clinical mastitis of all lactating cows in the 6 herds were also sampled (n=64). From the 3,518 collected samples, 153 K. pneumoniae isolates were obtained, of which 2 originated from milk (clinical mastitis cases). In feces (n=728), used bedding (n=73), and unused bedding (n=73), respectively, 125 (17.2%), 20 (27.4%), and 6 (8.2%) isolates were found. The isolates were fingerprinted by means of pulsed field gel electrophoresis. In total, 109 different pulsotypes were differentiated, indicating a high degree of genetic diversity within the isolates. All isolates from unused bedding belonged to pulsotypes other than those from the other sources, suggesting that sources other than unused sawdust may introduce K. pneumoniae into the herd. Only 2 pulsotypes contained isolates originating from different sources. Pulsotype 10 was found in milk and used bedding and pulsotype 21 was found in feces and used bedding. The 2 milk isolates originated from 2 cows in the same herd but they belonged to a different pulsotype. The results indicate that K. pneumoniae can be prevalent in the environment without causing significant mastitis problems. Most cows were shedding K. pneumoniae in feces, substantiating findings under very different conditions (i.e., American dairy herds). Contamination of used bedding in the cubicles with K. pneumoniae from feces was confirmed, whereas unused bedding was not an important source of K. pneumoniae for the environment of the cows.
V Piessens, E Van Coillie, B Verbist, K Supré, G Braem, A Van Nuffel, L De Vuyst, M Heyndrickx, S De Vliegher (2011)  Distribution of coagulase-negative Staphylococcus species from milk and environment of dairy cows differs between herds.   J Dairy Sci 94: 6. 2933-2944 Jun  
Abstract: In many parts of the world, coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) are the predominant pathogens causing intramammary infections (IMI) in dairy cows. The cows' environment is thought to be a possible source for CNS mastitis and this was investigated in the present paper. A longitudinal field study was carried out in 6 well-managed dairy herds to determine the distribution and epidemiology of various CNS species isolated from milk, causing IMI and living freely in the cows' environment, respectively. In each herd, quarter milk samples from a cohort of 10 lactating cows and environmental samples from stall air, slatted floor, sawdust from cubicles, and sawdust stock were collected monthly (n=13). Isolates from quarter milk samples (n=134) and the environment (n=637) were identified to species level using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) genotyping. Staphylococcus chromogenes, S. haemolyticus, S. epidermidis, and S. simulans accounted for 81.3% of all CNS milk isolates. Quarters were considered infected with CNS (positive IMI status) only when 2 out of 3 consecutive milk samples yielded the same CNS AFLP type. The species causing IMI were S. chromogenes (n=35 samples with positive IMI status), S. haemolyticus (n=29), S. simulans (n=14), and S. epidermidis (n=6). The observed persistent IMI cases (n=17) had a mean duration of 149.4 d (range 63.0 to 329.8 d). The CNS species predominating in the environment were S. equorum, S. sciuri, S. haemolyticus, and S. fleurettii. Herd-to-herd differences in distribution of CNS species were observed in both milk and the environment, suggesting that herd-level factors are involved in the establishment of particular species in a dairy herd. Primary reservoirs of the species causing IMI varied. Staphylococcus chromogenes and S. epidermidis were rarely found in the environment, indicating that other reservoirs were more important in their epidemiology. For S. haemolyticus and S. simulans, the environment was found as a reservoir, suggesting that IMI with these species were possibly environmental in origin.
Davy Persoons, Kaatje Bollaerts, Annemieke Smet, Lieve Herman, Marc Heyndrickx, An Martel, Patrick Butaye, Boudewijn Catry, Freddy Haesebrouck, Jeroen Dewulf (2011)  The importance of sample size in the determination of a flock-level antimicrobial resistance profile for Escherichia coli in broilers.   Microb Drug Resist 17: 4. 513-519 Dec  
Abstract: Determining herd- or flock-specific antimicrobial resistance profiles is important to guide therapeutic use of antimicrobials and to assess risk factors for the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance. As such, it is of utmost importance to optimize the sampling strategy for the determination of herd-specific antimicrobial resistance profiles. However, the multitude of prevalences measured at the same time as well as the presence of variation both at the level of the animal and the bacterial population of concern make it impossible to use conventional sample size determination methods. In this article, the use of bootstrapping techniques for sample size determination was explored. In particular, one-stage and two-stage bootstrap samplings were used to determine the optimal number of animals and the optimal number of isolates within one animal. Results show that focus should be on the number of animals sampled rather than on the number of isolates tested within one animal.
S Samapundo, M Heyndrickx, R Xhaferi, F Devlieghere (2011)  Incidence, diversity and toxin gene characteristics of Bacillus cereus group strains isolated from food products marketed in Belgium.   Int J Food Microbiol 150: 1. 34-41 Oct  
Abstract: The major objectives of this study were to determine the incidence, diversity and characteristics of Bacillus cereus group spp. isolated from food products marketed in Belgium. The food products investigated in this study included cooked pasta, lasagna, béchamel sauce, bolognaise sauce, fresh minced beef, fresh-cut vegetables and raw basmati rice. B. cereus group spp. were detected in 56.3% (324 of 575) of the samples giving rise to 380 strains. The highest incidence (100%) occurred in the raw basmati rice. Although only 10 (2.6%) of the 380 isolates were determined to be psychrotolerant (able to grow at â¤7°C), 25 (6.2%), 189 (49.7%) and 334 (87.9%) isolates were able to grow at mild temperature abuse conditions of 8°C, 9°C and 10°C, respectively. The large diversity of the isolates obtained (overall and between isolates obtained from the same product type) was highlighted by the results of the (GTG)(5) PCR fingerprinting of 80 selected isolates. Sixty-one of these 80 isolates belonged to 15 distinct clusters (â¥85% Pearson correlation) whereas the remaining 19 were each clustered separately. Further diversity was also found in the distribution of toxin genes as 16 different profiles were observed in the 80 selected isolates. Whilst none of 80 selected strains harboured the ces gene required for the production of the emetic toxin cereulide, 42 strains (52.5%) carried all seven genes required for the production of the diarrhoeal enterotoxins: haemolytic BL, non-haemolytic enterotoxin and cytotoxin K. The results of this study highlight not only the omnipresence but also the highly diverse ecology of B. cereus spp. within and across several food product types available on the retail market in Belgium. They should also provide the impetus for more studies to enable detailed risk assessment studies to be performed.
David Hermans, Kim Van Deun, An Martel, Filip Van Immerseel, Winy Messens, Marc Heyndrickx, Freddy Haesebrouck, Frank Pasmans (2011)  Colonization factors of Campylobacter jejuni in the chicken gut.   Vet Res 42: 1. Jan/Feb  
Abstract: ABSTRACT: Campylobacter contaminated broiler chicken meat is an important source of foodborne gastroenteritis and poses a serious health burden in industrialized countries. Broiler chickens are commonly regarded as a natural host for this zoonotic pathogen and infected birds carry a very high C. jejuni load in their gastrointestinal tract, especially the ceca. This eventually results in contaminated carcasses during processing. Current intervention methods fail to reduce the colonization of broiler chicks by C. jejuni due to an incomplete understanding on the interaction between C. jejuni and its avian host. Clearly, C. jejuni developed several survival and colonization mechanisms which are responsible for its highly adapted nature to the chicken host. But how these mechanisms interact with one another, leading to persistent, high-level cecal colonization remains largely obscure. A plethora of mutagenesis studies in the past few years resulted in the identification of several of the genes and proteins of C. jejuni involved in different aspects of the cellular response of this bacterium in the chicken gut. In this review, a thorough, up-to-date overview will be given of the survival mechanisms and colonization factors of C. jejuni identified to date. These factors may contribute to our understanding on how C. jejuni survival and colonization in chicks is mediated, as well as provide potential targets for effective subunit vaccine development.
K Broekaert, M Heyndrickx, L Herman, F Devlieghere, G Vlaemynck (2011)  Seafood quality analysis: Molecular identification of dominant microbiota after ice storage on several general growth media.   Food Microbiol 28: 6. 1162-1169 Sep  
Abstract: This study points out the limitations of several general growth media frequently used in seafood research by a systematic identification of the microorganisms on fish samples during ice storage unable to grow on those media. Aerobic psychrotrophic count (APC), replication on various general media and total cultivable microbial community denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis revealed that many potential spoilage microorganisms were overlooked. Those microorganisms overlooked by using only one single growth medium were identified by partial 16S rRNA gene and gyrB gene sequencing. Members of the genera Shewanella, Vibrio, Aliivibrio, Photobacterium, Pseudoalteromonas and Psychrobacter, including Photobacterium phosphoreum, Shewanella baltica and Pseudomonas fluorescens are unable to grow on PCA. APC analysis also confirmed that on plate count agar (PCA) the enumeration of the microbiota was underestimated. Although Long and Hammer agar (LH) and marine agar (MA) obtained the best quantitative (APC analysis) and qualitative (replication and DGGE analyses) results for fish quality analysis, analysts have to keep in mind that some species were also unable to grow on those media, such as Pseudomonas fragi and Acinetobacter sp.
A Smet, G Rasschaert, A Martel, D Persoons, J Dewulf, P Butaye, B Catry, F Haesebrouck, L Herman, M Heyndrickx (2011)  In situ ESBL conjugation from avian to human Escherichia coli during cefotaxime administration.   J Appl Microbiol 110: 2. 541-549 Feb  
Abstract: Aims:â The behaviour of an Escherichia coli isolate of broiler origin harbouring a bla(TEM-52) -carrying plasmid (lactose-negative mutant of B1-54, IncII group) was studied in an in situ continuous flow culture system, simulating the human caecum and the ascending colon during cefotaxime administration. Methods and Results:â Fresh faeces from a healthy volunteer, negative for cephalosporin-resistant E. coli, were selected to prepare inocula. The microbiota was monitored by plating on diverse selective media, and a shift in the populations of bacteria was examined by 16S rDNA PCR denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. Escherichia coli transconjugants were verified by plasmid and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profiles (PFGE). The avian extended-spectrum β-lactamase-positive E. coli was able to proliferate without selective pressure of cefotaxime, and E. coli transconjugants of human origin were detected 24âh after inoculation of the donor strain. Upon administration of cefotaxime to the fresh medium, an increase in the population size of E. coli B1-54 and the transconjugants was observed. PFGE and plasmid analysis revealed a limited number of human E. coli clones receptive for the bla(TEM-52) -carrying plasmid. Conclusions:â These observations provide evidence of the maintenance of an E. coli strain of poultry origin and the horizontal gene transfer in the human commensal bowel microbiota even without antimicrobial treatment. Significance and Impact of the Study:â The fact that an E. coli strain of poultry origin might establish itself and transfer its bla gene to commensal human E. coli raises public health concerns.
Valerie De Jonghe, An Coorevits, Koenraad Van Hoorde, Winy Messens, Anita Van Landschoot, Paul De Vos, Marc Heyndrickx (2011)  Influence of storage conditions on the growth of Pseudomonas species in refrigerated raw milk.   Appl Environ Microbiol 77: 2. 460-470 Jan  
Abstract: The refrigerated storage of raw milk throughout the dairy chain prior to heat treatment creates selective conditions for growth of psychrotolerant bacteria. These bacteria, mainly belonging to the genus Pseudomonas, are capable of producing thermoresistant extracellular proteases and lipases, which can cause spoilage and structural defects in pasteurized and ultra-high-temperature-treated milk (products). To map the influence of refrigerated storage on the growth of these pseudomonads, milk samples were taken after the first milking turn and incubated laboratory scale at temperatures simulating optimal and suboptimal preprocessing storage conditions. The outgrowth of Pseudomonas members was monitored over time by means of cultivation-independent denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Isolates were identified by a polyphasic approach. These incubations revealed that outgrowth of Pseudomonas members occurred from the beginning of the dairy chain (farm tank) under both optimal and suboptimal storage conditions. An even greater risk for outgrowth, as indicated by a vast increase of about 2 log CFU per ml raw milk, existed downstream in the chain, especially when raw milk was stored under suboptimal conditions. This difference in Pseudomonas outgrowth between optimal and suboptimal storage was already statistically significant within the farm tank. The predominant taxa were identified as Pseudomonas gessardii, Pseudomonas gessardii-like, Pseudomonas fluorescens-like, Pseudomonas lundensis, Pseudomonas fragi, and Pseudomonas fragi-like. Those taxa show an important spoilage potential as determined on elective media for proteolysis and lipolysis.
S Samapundo, M Heyndrickx, R Xhaferi, F Devlieghere (2011)  Validated empirical models describing the combined effect of water activity and pH on the heat resistance of spores of a psychrotolerant Bacillus cereus strain in broth and béchamel sauce.   J Food Prot 74: 10. 1662-1669 Oct  
Abstract: The major objective of this study was to evaluate and model the combined effect of the water activity (a(w)) and pH of the heating menstrum on the heat resistance of spores of a psychrotolerant Bacillus cereus strain isolated from béchamel sauce. Two models, a quadratic polynomial equation and a reparameterized function, were assessed for their ability to describe the combined influence of a(w) and pH on the D(85°C)-values of the B. cereus isolate in tryptone soy broth. The performance of the models was validated by challenging the models with data independently collected in broth and béchamel sauce. Both models were found to adequately describe the validation data obtained in broth. However, it was determined that in béchamel sauce the predictions of the polynomial function not only showed bias (bias factor = 1.156) but were also fail-dangerous, as they deviated from the validation data by 17.2%. The reparameterized function was determined to be a good predictor of the D(85°C)-values in béchamel sauce as it showed no bias (bias factor = 1.033) and its predictions differed by only 7.9% from the validation data. The reparameterized function can be used to provide estimates of the minimum processing conditions required to achieve desired levels of spore inactivation within the a(w) and pH ranges studied and to determine the potential changes in heat resistance of B. cereus spores when a(w) and pH are changed, for example, during product reformulation. As validation of heat resistance models is rarely performed, let alone in actual food products, the models evaluated and validated in this study (in particular the reparameterized function) are of immediate relevance to the food industry.
S Leleu, W Messens, K De Reu, S De Preter, L Herman, M Heyndrickx, J De Baerdemaeker, C W Michiels, M Bain (2011)  Effect of egg washing on the cuticle quality of brown and white table eggs.   J Food Prot 74: 10. 1649-1654 Oct  
Abstract: Egg washing is currently not permitted within the European Union, with few exceptions. This is mainly because there are concerns that cuticle damage could occur during or after the washing process, as a result of a suboptimal operation. In this study, the cuticle coverage levels of 400 washed or unwashed eggs, derived from either a brown or a white egg-laying flock at the end of lay, were compared. The eggs from older hens inherently have poorer cuticle coverage and as a result arguably constitute a greater risk to consumer safety if they are then washed. Thus, the effects of the washing procedure used in this study on cuticle quality were tested under the worst-case scenario. A standard Swedish egg washing process was used. The cuticle coverage of the eggs was assessed by a colorimeter by quantifying the color difference before and after staining with Tartrazine and Green S. The cuticle of an additional 30 eggs from each of the four groups was then visually assessed by scanning electron microscopy. The staining characteristics of the cuticle varied greatly within each group of eggs and showed that the washing process did not lead to cuticle damage. Scanning electron microscopy confirmed that there was no irreversible damage to the cuticle of the washed eggs and that it was not possible to correctly assign the treatment (washed or not) based on a visual assessment. In conclusion, no evidence could be found to suggest that the washing procedure used in this investigation irreversibly changed the quality of the cuticle.
David Hermans, An Martel, Kim van Deun, Filip van Immerseel, Marc Heyndrickx, Freddy Haesebrouck, Frank Pasmans (2011)  The cinnamon-oil ingredient trans-cinnamaldehyde fails to target Campylobacter jejuni strain KC 40 in the broiler chicken cecum despite marked in vitro activity.   J Food Prot 74: 10. 1729-1734 Oct  
Abstract: Campylobacter jejuni is the most common bacterial cause of diarrheal disease in humans worldwide, with poultry products being a major source. Therefore, strategies to decrease Campylobacter colonization during primary production might aid in reducing the number of human campylobacteriosis cases. Several plant-derived compounds have been reported to possess anti-Campylobacter properties in vitro, so they could be promising candidates to reduce Campylobacter colonization in broiler chickens. To test this hypothesis, selected plant-derived antimicrobials (caffeic, gallic, protocatechuic, and vanillic acids, epigallocatechin gallate, trans-cinnamaldehyde, and thymol) were screened for anti-Campylobacter activity by determining MICs and setting up time-kill curves for C. jejuni strain KC 40. These experiments revealed marked antibacterial activity, especially for the cinnamon oil ingredient trans-cinnamaldehyde (CIN). This compound was tested in a broiler chick seeder model; it was added to the feed in coated form at an effective concentration of 0.3 % from day-of-hatch for the entire 22-day duration of the experiment. At 14 days of age, one-third of the birds were inoculated with C. jejuni strain KC 40 and served as seeders. CIN was not able to reduce cecal Campylobacter colonization in this model, which was confirmed in a cecal loop experiment. Despite CIN concentrations much higher than the MIC, C. jejuni numbers were not reduced compared with those in nontreated ceca at 2 and 24 h after injection. In conclusion, this study shows a marked discrepancy between in vitro and in vivo activity of CIN against C. jejuni strain KC 40.
S Leleu, L Herman, M Heyndrickx, K De Reu, C W Michiels, J De Baerdemaeker, W Messens (2011)  Effects on Salmonella shell contamination and trans-shell penetration of coating hens' eggs with chitosan.   Int J Food Microbiol 145: 1. 43-48 Jan  
Abstract: Chitosan is a biopolymer with antimicrobial activity and film-forming properties. In this study, the effects on Salmonella shell contamination and trans-shell penetration of coating hens' eggs with chitosan was evaluated. A chitosan was selected from eight types (four non-commercial and four commercial) based on its antimicrobial activity against Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis). For this purpose, a contact plate method was developed and chitosans were applied at a concentration of 0.25% (w/v). A commercial type with a molecular weight of 310-375 kDa and a deacetylation degree of 75% that reduced S. Enteritidis by 0.71 log(10) colony forming units compared to the control (without chitosan) was selected for further studies. The chitosan was shown to have antimicrobial activity against other egg borne bacteria, i.e., Acinetobacter baumannii, Alcaligenes sp., Carnobacterium sp., Pseudomonas sp., Serratia marcescens and Staphylococcus warneri, and against S. enterica serovar Typhimurium, Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes. The effects of various concentrations of the selected chitosan (0.25%, 1% and 2%) on Salmonella shell contamination and trans-shell penetration were assessed using the agar molding technique. Effective reduction of eggshell contamination could not be demonstrated, but trans-shell penetration was significantly reduced in the presence of a 2% chitosan eggshell coating, with only 6.1% of the eggs being penetrated compared to 24.5% of the uncoated eggs. It was concluded that the 2% chitosan coating has the potential to reduce contamination of egg contents resulting from trans-shell penetration by S. Enteritidis.
F Van Immerseel, B Pardon, S Maes, M Heyndrickx, L Timbermont, F Boyen, F Haesebrouck, R Ducatelle, P Deprez (2010)  Isolation of a clonal population of Clostridium perfringens type A from a Belgian Blue calf with abomasal ulceration.   J Comp Pathol 143: 4. 289-293 Nov  
Abstract: A case of abomasal ulceration in a 3-month-old Belgian Blue calf is described. Microscopical examination revealed the ulcers to be demarcated by a band of neutrophilic inflammation that separated underlying healthy tissue from the superficial fibrinous necrotic material in which bacteria were present. Clostridium perfringens type A was isolated from multiple ulcers and from the intestinal contents of the animal and pulsed field gel electrophoresis confirmed that the isolates comprised a genetically clonal population.
N Botteldoorn, E Van Coillie, J Goris, H Werbrouck, V Piessens, C Godard, P Scheldeman, L Herman, M Heyndrickx (2010)  Limited genetic diversity and gene expression differences between egg- and non-egg-related Salmonella Enteritidis strains.   Zoonoses Public Health 57: 5. 345-357 Aug  
Abstract: Salmonella Enteritidis strains of egg- and non-egg-related origin were characterized molecularly to find markers correlated with the egg-contaminating property of Salmonella Enteritidis. Isolates were examined by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), plasmid profiling and phage typing. Furthermore, the presence of 30 virulence genes was tested by PCR. In genetic fingerprinting and gene content, only small differences between the strains were found and no correlation was observed with the origin (egg-related versus non-egg-related). A major RADP group was present in both egg- and non-egg-related strains, but other smaller RAPD groups were present as well in both categories of strains. Phage types PT4 and PT21 were predominant. Differential mRNA expression levels of fimA and agfA under conditions of growth simulating the conditions during egg formation were determined by real-time RT-PCR. Although differences in fimA and agfA expression levels were observed between the strains, these could not be correlated with the origin of the strains (egg-related versus non-egg-related). The highest expression levels of agfA and fimA were only found in two non-egg-related strains, which seemed to be correlated with the presence of a 93 kb plasmid instead of the 60 kb virulence plasmid. Our results seem to indicate only a limited role for at least type I fimbriae (encoded by fim operon) in egg contamination by Salmonella Enteritidis.
Veerle Piessens, Karlien Supré, Marc Heyndrickx, Freddy Haesebrouck, Sarne De Vliegher, Els Van Coillie (2010)  Validation of amplified fragment length polymorphism genotyping for species identification of bovine associated coagulase-negative staphylococci.   J Microbiol Methods 80: 3. 287-294 Mar  
Abstract: In many countries, coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) are currently the most common cause of intramammary infection in lactating cows. In order to elucidate the importance of various CNS species in udder health and milk quality, further research conducted on the species level is required. Phenotypic identification of CNS species appears to be unreliable and more accurate and reproducible genotypic methods are needed. In the current study, use of amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) genotyping was validated for species identification of bovine associated CNS. An initial reference library was generated with AFLP fingerprints of 52 different CNS type and reference strains. Next, 247 bovine CNS field isolates with known species identity were analyzed. These field isolates had been previously identified by gene sequencing and were randomly divided into two subsets, i.e. a training set and a validation set. The training set was identified against the initial reference library containing only type and reference strains, which resulted in a typeability of 80.5%. Accuracy of the AFLP identifications, being the correspondence with gene sequencing results, was 95.0%. Fingerprints of the training set were then added to the initial library and identification of the validation set was done by means of this extended library. By adding bovine CNS to the library, performance of the AFLP identification method improved considerably. Final typeability and accuracy were 98.4% and 99.2%, respectively. Numerical analysis of AFLP fingerprints proves to be an accurate genotypic method for identification of CNS from bovine origin. The constructed AFLP library provides a useful identification tool for field studies on the subject of CNS.
Annemieke Smet, An Martel, Davy Persoons, Jeroen Dewulf, Marc Heyndrickx, Lieve Herman, Freddy Haesebrouck, Patrick Butaye (2010)  Broad-spectrum β-lactamases among Enterobacteriaceae of animal origin: molecular aspects, mobility and impact on public health.   FEMS Microbiol Rev 34: 3. 295-316 May  
Abstract: Broad-spectrum β-lactamase genes (coding for extended-spectrum β-lactamases and AmpC β-lactamases) have been frequently demonstrated in the microbiota of food-producing animals. This may pose a human health hazard as these genes may be present in zoonotic bacteria, which would cause a direct problem. They can also be present in commensals, which may act as a reservoir of resistance genes for pathogens causing disease both in humans and in animals. Broad-spectrum β-lactamase genes are frequently located on mobile genetic elements, such as plasmids, transposons and integrons, which often also carry additional resistance genes. This could limit treatment options for infections caused by broad-spectrum β-lactam-resistant microorganisms. This review addresses the growing burden of broad-spectrum β-lactam resistance among Enterobacteriaceae isolated from food, companion and wild animals worldwide. To explore the human health hazard, the diversity of broad-spectrum β-lactamases among Enterobacteriaceae derived from animals is compared with respect to their presence in human bacteria. Furthermore, the possibilities of the exchange of genes encoding broad-spectrum β-lactamases - including the exchange of the transposons and plasmids that serve as vehicles for these genes - between different ecosystems (human and animal) are discussed.
Siele Ceuppens, Nico Boon, Andreja Rajkovic, Marc Heyndrickx, Tom Van de Wiele, Mieke Uyttendaele (2010)  Quantification methods for Bacillus cereus vegetative cells and spores in the gastrointestinal environment.   J Microbiol Methods 83: 2. 202-210 Nov  
Abstract: There is an interest to understand the fate and behaviour of the food-borne pathogen Bacillus cereus in the gut, a challenging environment with a high bacterial background. We evaluated the current detection methods to select an appropriate strategy for B. cereus monitoring during gastrointestinal experiments. Application of quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) in a gastrointestinal matrix required careful selection of the qPCR reaction and elaborate optimization of the DNA extraction protocol. Primer competition and depletion problems associated with qPCR reactions targeting general 16S rRNA gene can be avoided by the selection of a target sequence that is unique for and widespread among the target bacteria, such as the toxin gene nheB in the case of pathogenic B. cereus. Enumeration of B. cereus during the ileum phase was impossible by plating due to overgrowth by intestinal bacteria, while a carefully optimized qPCR enabled specific detection and quantification of B. cereus. On the other hand, plating allowed the distinction of viable, injured and dead bacteria and the germination of spores, which was not possible with qPCR. In conclusion, both plating and qPCR were necessary to yield the maximal information regarding the viability and physiology of the B. cereus population in various gastrointestinal compartments.
Koenraad Van Hoorde, Isabelle Van Leuven, Patrick Dirinck, Marc Heyndrickx, Kathleen Coudijzer, Peter Vandamme, Geert Huys (2010)  Selection, application and monitoring of Lactobacillus paracasei strains as adjunct cultures in the production of Gouda-type cheeses.   Int J Food Microbiol 144: 2. 226-235 Dec  
Abstract: Raw milk cheeses have more intense flavours than cheeses made from pasteurized milk and harbour strains with potential adjunct properties. Two Lactobacillus paracasei strains, R-40926 and R-40937, were selected as potential adjunct cultures from a total of 734 isolates from good quality artisan raw milk Gouda-type cheeses on the basis of their prevalence in different cheese types and/or over several production batches, safety and technological parameters. Conventional culturing, isolation and identification and a combined PCR-DGGE approach using total cheese DNA extracts and DNA extracts obtained from culturable fractions were employed to monitor viability of the introduced adjuncts and their effect on the cheese microbiota. The control cheese made without adjuncts was dominated by members of the starter, i.e. Lactococcus lactis and Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides. In the cheeses containing either R-40926 or R-40937, the respective adjuncts increased in number as ripening progressed indicating that both strains are well adapted to the cheese environment and can survive in a competitive environment in the presence of a commercial starter culture. Principal component analysis of cheese volatiles determined by steam distillation-extraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry could differentiate cheeses made with different concentrations of adjunct R-40926 from the control cheese, and these differences could be correlated to the proteolytic and lipolytic properties of this strain. Collectively, results from microbiological and metabolic analyses indicate that the screening procedure followed throughout this study was successful in delivering potential adjunct candidates to enrich or extend the flavour palette of artisan Gouda-type cheeses under more controlled conditions.
Winy Messens, Johan Goris, Noël Dierick, Lieve Herman, Marc Heyndrickx (2010)  Inhibition of Salmonella typhimurium by medium-chain fatty acids in an in vitro simulation of the porcine cecum.   Vet Microbiol 141: 1-2. 73-80 Feb  
Abstract: Salmonella typhimurium was responsible for more than half of the reported cases of human salmonellosis in Belgium in 2007 and was the predominant serovar isolated from slaughter pig carcasses. To lower the Salmonella contamination of pork meat, measures can be taken at the primary production level, e.g. by reducing the shedding of Salmonella through the use of feed additives such as medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). An in vitro continuous culture system, simulating the porcine cecum, was developed for investigating the effect of MCFAs (sodium caproate, sodium caprylate and sodium caprinate) on the pig intestinal microbial community. The system was monitored by plating on selective media, PCR-DGGE and HPLC analysis of fermentation products. An inoculated S. typhimurium strain could be maintained by the system at a population size of about 5log(10)cfu/mL. By the addition of 15mM caprylate, significant reductions of coliforms and Salmonella counts by 4.69log(10) units (95% confidence interval: 4.19-5.18) could be achieved, while other bacterial populations were clearly less affected. This concentration seems economically feasible in pig feed, provided that the substance can reach the cecum without being absorbed. Thus, caprylate, for example in the form of encapsulated beads or as triacylglycerol oil, might have potential as a Salmonella-reducing additive in pig feed.
Valerie De Jonghe, An Coorevits, Jan De Block, Els Van Coillie, Koen Grijspeerdt, Lieve Herman, Paul De Vos, Marc Heyndrickx (2010)  Toxinogenic and spoilage potential of aerobic spore-formers isolated from raw milk.   Int J Food Microbiol 136: 3. 318-325 Jan  
Abstract: The harmful effects on the quality and safety of dairy products caused by aerobic spore-forming isolates obtained from raw milk were characterized. Quantitative assessment showed strains of Bacillus subtilis, the Bacillus cereus group, Paenibacillus polymyxa and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens to be strongly proteolytic, along with Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus pumilus and Lysinibacillus fusiformis to a lesser extent. Lipolytic activity could be demonstrated in strains of B. subtilis, B. pumilus and B. amyloliquefaciens. Qualitative screening for lecithinase activity also revealed that P. polymyxa strains produce this enzyme besides the B. cereus group that is well-known for causing a 'bitty cream' defect in pasteurized milk due to lecithinase activity. We found a strain of P. polymyxa to be capable of gas production during lactose fermentation. Strains belonging to the species B. amyloliquefaciens, Bacillus clausii, Lysinibacillus sphaericus, B. subtilis and P. polymyxa were able to reduce nitrate. A heat-stable cytotoxic component other than the emetic toxin was produced by strains of B. amyloliquefaciens and B. subtilis. Heat-labile cytotoxic substances were produced by strains identified as B. amyloliquefaciens, B. subtilis, B. pumilus and the B. cereus group. Variations in expression levels between strains from the same species were noticed for all tests. This study emphasizes the importance of aerobic spore-forming bacteria in raw milk as the species that are able to produce toxins and/or spoilage enzymes are all abundantly present in raw milk. Moreover, we demonstrated that some strains are capable of growing at room temperature and staying stable at refrigeration temperatures.
Davy Persoons, Jeroen Dewulf, Annemieke Smet, Lieve Herman, Marc Heyndrickx, An Martel, Boudewijn Catry, Patrick Butaye, Freddy Haesebrouck (2010)  Prevalence and persistence of antimicrobial resistance in broiler indicator bacteria.   Microb Drug Resist 16: 1. 67-74 Mar  
Abstract: This study explored the prevalence and persistence of acquired antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecium from healthy broilers. In 32 broiler farms, cloacal samples were taken during two production rounds, with one production round in between. For 10 of the sampled flocks, samples from the carcasses at the slaughterhouse were also collected. For E. coli, high levels of resistance were found for ampicillin, nalidixic acid, streptomycin, tetracycline, and the combination of trimethoprim and sulfonamide. Over 58% of all the isolates showed resistance to four or more antimicrobial agents. Only 4.8% were fully susceptible for all 14 drugs tested. A remarkably high resistance rate (up to 41%) to ceftiofur was found. The enterococci were frequently resistant to macrolides, tetracycline, and the combination quinopristin/dalfopristin. Over 80% displayed acquired resistance to four or more antimicrobial agents, and 3.9% were fully susceptible for the eight agents tested. Resistance was found to persist over consecutive production rounds. There was a good correlation between results obtained with cloacal samples of the live animals and caecal content samples collected in the slaughterhouse for both E. coli and E. faecium. For E. coli but not for E. faecium, the resistance profile of neck skin isolates was different from that of cloacal isolates.
Karen Verstraete, Lieven De Zutter, Winy Messens, Lieve Herman, Marc Heyndrickx, Koen De Reu (2010)  Effect of the enrichment time and immunomagnetic separation on the detection of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26, O103, O111, O145 and sorbitol positive O157 from artificially inoculated cattle faeces.   Vet Microbiol 145: 1-2. 106-112 Sep  
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of enrichment time and immunomagnetic separation (IMS) on the efficiency of a method to isolate non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serotypes O26, O103, O111, O145 and sorbitol positive (s+) O157 from artificially inoculated cattle faeces. Cattle faecal samples were inoculated with varying amounts (20-90 cfu/25 g and 200-900 cfu/25 g) of clinical STEC strains (including serotypes O26, O103, O111, O145 and O157 (s- and s+)), and recovered using a selective enrichment step of either 6 or 24h, followed by plating on selective agars either preceded by IMS or not. Two types of IMS beads were used (Dynabeads) and Captivate beads), and evaluated on pure broth suspensions of STEC. The 6-h enrichment instead of 24-h, had no significant effect on the recovery rate, only for serotype O145 a positive trend was observed. Using direct plating after enrichment, recovery rates were influenced by the inoculated serotype and the inoculation level. Using IMS (Dynabeads) or Captivate beads), recovery of serotype O157 (s- and s+) was significantly improved, whereas for O26, O103, O111, and O145 no significant effect was observed. Results of IMS performed on pure suspensions of STEC, explained these serotype-depended findings in faeces; loss-making factors in the IMS procedure of some beads and the influence of the type of bead were shown. The method combining both enrichment periods with direct plating and IMS followed by plating, yielded a detection limit of 20-90 cfu/25 g. But, if only certain serotypes have to be investigated, the protocol can be simplified.
D Hermans, A Martel, K Van Deun, M Verlinden, F Van Immerseel, A Garmyn, W Messens, M Heyndrickx, F Haesebrouck, F Pasmans (2010)  Intestinal mucus protects Campylobacter jejuni in the ceca of colonized broiler chickens against the bactericidal effects of medium-chain fatty acids.   Poult Sci 89: 6. 1144-1155 Jun  
Abstract: Campylobacter jejuni is the most common cause of bacterial-mediated diarrheal disease worldwide. Because poultry and poultry products are a major source of C. jejuni infections in humans, efforts should be taken to develop strategies to decrease Campylobacter shedding during primary production. For this purpose, the efficacy of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) as feed additives to control C. jejuni colonization in broiler chickens was analyzed. First, the antimicrobial activity of the MCFA caproic, caprylic, and capric acid on C. jejuni was evaluated in vitro. Minimal inhibitory concentrations were 0.25 mM for caproic and 0.5 mM for caprylic and capric acids at pH 6.0 and 4 mM for all 3 compounds at pH 7.5. Time-kill curves revealed strong bactericidal properties of the tested compounds toward C. jejuni at pH 6.0. Concentrations as low as 4 mM caprylic and capric acids and 16 mM caproic acid killed all bacteria within 24 h. Capric acid had the highest activity, with concentrations of 4 mM killing all bacteria within the hour. Together these data show a profound bactericidal, dose-dependent activity of the tested MCFA toward C. jejuni in vitro. For this reason, the effect of these 3 MCFA on C. jejuni was evaluated in vivo. The addition of any of the acids to the feed, from 3 d before euthanization, was not capable of reducing cecal Campylobacter colonization in 27-d-old broilers experimentally infected with C. jejuni at 15 d of age. Using a cecal loop model, sodium caprate was not able to reduce cecal Campylobacter counts. When time-kill curves were conducted in the presence of chick intestinal mucus, capric acid was less active against C. jejuni. At 4 mM, all bacteria were killed only after 24 h. Thus, despite the marked bactericidal effect of MCFA in vitro, supplementing these acids to the feed does not reduce cecal Campylobacter colonization in broiler chickens under the applied test conditions, probably due to the protective effect of the mucus layer.
Annemieke Smet, An Martel, Davy Persoons, Jeroen Dewulf, Marc Heyndrickx, Geert Claeys, Marc Lontie, Britt Van Meensel, Lieve Herman, Freddy Haesebrouck, Patrick Butaye (2010)  Characterization of extended-spectrum beta-lactamases produced by Escherichia coli isolated from hospitalized and nonhospitalized patients: emergence of CTX-M-15-producing strains causing urinary tract infections.   Microb Drug Resist 16: 2. 129-134 Jun  
Abstract: Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli isolates were obtained from hospitalized and nonhospitalized patients in Belgium between August 2006 and November 2007. The antimicrobial susceptibility of these isolates was determined and their ESBL genes were characterized. Clonal relationships between the CTX-M-producing E. coli isolates causing urinary tract infections were also studied. A total of 90 hospital- and 45 community-acquired cephalosporin-resistant E. coli isolates were obtained. Tetracycline, enrofloxacine, gentamicin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethaxozole resistance rates were significantly different between the community-onset and hospital-acquired isolates. A high diversity of different ESBLs was observed among the hospital-acquired E. coli isolates, whereas CTX-M-15 was dominating among the community-acquired E. coli isolates (n = 28). Thirteen different pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profiles were observed in the community-acquired CTX-M-15-producing E. coli, indicating that multiple clones have acquired the bla(CTX-M-15) gene. All community-acquired CTX-M-15-producing E. coli isolates of phylogroups B2 and D were assigned to the sequence type ST131. The hospital-acquired CTX-M-15-producing E. coli isolates of phylogroups B2, B1, A, and D corresponded to ST131, ST617, ST48, and ST405, respectively. In conclusion, CTX-M-type ESBLs have emerged as the predominant class of ESBLs produced by E. coli isolates in the hospital and community in Belgium. Of particular concern is the predominant presence of the CTX-M-15 enzyme in ST131 community-acquired E. coli.
Koenraad Van Hoorde, Marc Heyndrickx, Peter Vandamme, Geert Huys (2010)  Influence of pasteurization, brining conditions and production environment on the microbiota of artisan Gouda-type cheeses.   Food Microbiol 27: 3. 425-433 May  
Abstract: To monitor the effect of the indigenous milk microbiota and of technological and environmental parameters on the microbiota established in ripened cheese, the diversity and dynamics of the predominant microbial communities in artisan Gouda-type cheeses produced under different conditions was studied. A total of 22 cheese types differing in milk source, milk treatment, production environment and brining conditions were analyzed by PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) using total DNA extracts as well as DNA extracted from culturable fractions. Through band position analysis and band sequencing, the majority of DGGE bands could be attributed to lactic acid bacteria (LAB), although a few bands also belonged to staphylococci and gamma-Proteobacteria. Aided by principal component analysis (PCA) and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), cheeses produced at different locations could clearly be differentiated. The same approach also allowed to distinguish raw and pasteurized milk cheeses, the former showing a more diverse microbiota in terms of a higher species richness and number of DGGE bands. No substantial differences were found between cheeses brined at two different locations. In conclusion, the combined PCR-DGGE approach relying on both total DNA extracts and culturable fractions proved its value for analyzing the effect of technological and environmental parameters on the diversity and dynamics of the microbiota in Gouda-type cheeses.
Sophie Marchand, Kim Heylen, Winy Messens, Katleen Coudijzer, Paul De Vos, Koen Dewettinck, Lieve Herman, Jan De Block, Marc Heyndrickx (2009)  Seasonal influence on heat-resistant proteolytic capacity of Pseudomonas lundensis and Pseudomonas fragi, predominant milk spoilers isolated from Belgian raw milk samples.   Environ Microbiol 11: 2. 467-482 Feb  
Abstract: Psychrotolerant bacteria and their heat-resistant proteases play a major role in the spoilage of UHT-processed dairy products. Summer and winter raw milk samples were screened for the presence of such bacteria. One hundred and three proteolytic psychrotolerant bacteria were isolated, characterized by API tests, rep-PCR fingerprint analysis and evaluated for heat-resistant protease production. Twenty-nine strains (representing 79% of the complete collection) were further identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing, rpoB gene sequencing and DNA-DNA hybridizations. A seasonal inter- and intra-species influence on milk spoilage capacity (e.g. growth rate and/or protease production) was demonstrated. Moreover, this polyphasic approach led to the identification of Pseudomonas fragi and Pseudomonas lundensis (representing 53% of all isolates) as predominant producers of heat-resistant proteases in raw milk. The role of Pseudomonas fluorescens, historically reported as important milk spoiler, could not unequivocally be established. The use of more reliable identification techniques and further revision of the taxonomy of P. fluorescens will probably result in a different perspective on its role in the milk spoilage issue.
G Rasschaert, W Vanderhaeghen, I Dewaele, N Janez, X Huijsdens, P Butaye, M Heyndrickx (2009)  Comparison of fingerprinting methods for typing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus sequence type 398.   J Clin Microbiol 47: 10. 3313-3322 Oct  
Abstract: This study evaluates the multiple-locus variable-number tandem-repeat assay (MLVA) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) when using restriction enzymes BstZI, SacII, and ApaI to fingerprint a diverse collection of methicillin (meticillin)-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) sequence type 398 (ST398) isolates. These isolates had been characterized previously by multilocus sequence typing, spa typing, and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing. Typeability and discriminatory power were analyzed, and the concordance between the various methods was determined. All MRSA ST398 isolates were typeable by the MLVA and PFGE using BstZI, SacII, and ApaI. With each method, the MRSA ST398 isolates formed a separate group from the two non-ST398 MRSA strains. PFGE, performed with any of the three restriction enzymes, had the most discriminatory power, followed by MLVA, spa typing, and SCCmec typing. The MLVA showed the highest concordance with PFGE using ApaI and spa typing. As further expressed by the Wallace coefficient, the MLVA type was poorly predicted by spa typing, whereas the spa type was well predicted by MLVA. PFGE, using a combination of all three restriction enzymes, had the highest concordance with the MLVA but had a low probability of being predicted by MLVA. PFGE, using a combination of all three restriction enzymes, was able to predict SCCmec type and MLVA type completely and had a high probability of predicting spa type. Both the MLVA and PFGE could be used to discriminate among the MRSA ST398 isolates. Although the MLVA is a faster technique, PFGE had more discriminatory power than the MLVA, especially when a combination of restriction enzymes was used.
Mieke Uyttendaele, Katleen Baert, Koen Grijspeerdt, Lieven De Zutter, Benoit Horion, Frank Devlieghere, Marc Heyndrickx, Johan Debevere (2009)  Comparing the effect of various contamination levels for salmonella in chicken meat preparations on the probability of illness in belgium.   J Food Prot 72: 10. 2093-2105 Oct  
Abstract: At the urging of competent national authorities, a limited risk assessment on Salmonella in chicken meat preparations in Belgium was undertaken following a retail-to-table approach. The input distribution of Salmonella was based on surveillance data in Belgium. To analyze the relative impact of reducing the risk of salmonellosis associated with a decrease in the Salmonella contamination level, different distributions based on the actual situation but limiting the number of portions containing Salmonella at 1 CFU per 1, 10, and 25 g of meat were used in the quantitative microbial risk assessment model. The quantitative microbial risk assessment model also was run several times with a theoretical fixed input of Salmonella assuming all portions possessed the same fixed contamination level set at 1,000, 100, 10, and 1 CFU/g of meat and 1 CFU per 10, 25, 100, and 1,000 g of meat. With regard to the initial contamination level, the results indicate, both by the narrowing of the current distribution and by the fixed input, that especially the higher levels of contamination (>1 CFU/g) contribute to the increased risk for salmonellosis.
K De Reu, T B Rodenburg, K Grijspeerdt, W Messens, M Heyndrickx, F A M Tuyttens, B Sonck, J Zoons, L Herman (2009)  Bacteriological contamination, dirt, and cracks of eggshells in furnished cages and noncage systems for laying hens: an international on-farm comparison.   Poult Sci 88: 11. 2442-2448 Nov  
Abstract: For laying hens, the effects of housing system on bacterial eggshell contamination and eggshell quality is almost exclusively studied in experimental hen houses. The aim of this study was to compare eggshell hygiene and quality under commercial conditions. Six flocks of laying hens in furnished cages and 7 flocks in noncage systems were visited when hens were about 60 wk of age. Farms from Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany were included in the study. The following parameters were determined on eggs sampled at the egg belts: 1) bacterial eggshell contamination, as expressed by total count of aerobic bacteria and number of Enterobacteriaceae; 2) proportion of dirty eggs; and 3) proportion of cracked eggs and eggs with microcracks. Considerable within-flock differences were found in eggshell contamination with total count of aerobic bacteria, both for furnished cages (P < or = 0.001, range 4.24 to 5.22 log cfu/eggshell) and noncage systems (P < or = 0.001, range 4.35 to 5.51 log cfu/eggshell). On average, lower levels of contamination with total count of aerobic bacteria (4.75 vs. 4.98 log cfu/eggshell; P < or = 0.001) were found on eggshells from furnished cages compared with noncage systems. Concerning Enterobacteriaceae, no significant difference in average eggshell contamination between both systems could be shown. The total percentage of cracked eggs was higher (P < or = 0.01) in furnished cages (7.8%) compared with noncage systems (4.1%). This was, however, due to the high percentage of cracked eggs (24%) observed on one of the furnished cage farms. We conclude that bacteriological eggshell contamination and percentage of cracked eggs differed substantially between individual farms using the same housing system. This may also explain some discrepancies between the findings of the present study versus some findings of previous experimental studies or studies on a small number of farms. Although statistically significant, the average differences in bacteriological contamination of nest eggs between both housing systems have limited microbiological relevancy.
N A Logan, O Berge, A H Bishop, H - J Busse, P De Vos, D Fritze, M Heyndrickx, P Kämpfer, L Rabinovitch, M S Salkinoja-Salonen, L Seldin, A Ventosa (2009)  Proposed minimal standards for describing new taxa of aerobic, endospore-forming bacteria.   Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 59: Pt 8. 2114-2121 Aug  
Abstract: Minimal standards for describing new taxa within the aerobic endospore-forming bacteria are proposed, following Recommendation 30b of the Bacteriological Code (1990 Revision). These minimal standards are recommended as guidelines to assist authors in the preparation of descriptions for novel taxa. They encourage broad polyphasic characterization and the construction of descriptions that are practically useful in routine diagnostic laboratories. The proposals have been endorsed by the Subcommittee on the Taxonomy of the Genus Bacillus and Related Organisms of the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes.
Winy Messens, Lieve Herman, Lieven De Zutter, Marc Heyndrickx (2009)  Multiple typing for the epidemiological study of contamination of broilers with thermotolerant Campylobacter.   Vet Microbiol 138: 1-2. 120-131 Jul  
Abstract: This study aims to investigate the genetic diversity of thermotolerant Campylobacter in commercial broiler flocks and in the environment of broiler farms in Belgium. Seven out of 18 investigated flocks became colonized during rearing. Fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism (FAFLP), pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), restriction fragment length polymorphism of the flagellin A gene (flaA-RFLP) and antimicrobial resistance profile (ARP) were used for typing of the isolates. By the combination of FAFLP and PFGE, 22 Campylobacter genotypes could be distinguished. Colonization was almost exclusively with Campylobacter jejuni and unique genotypes were found in each flock. Multiple genotypes were detected in the broilers of 3 flocks, either simultaneously or successively. In 5 flocks, strains that were resistant to at least one antibiotic (mostly tetracycline) were found. The presence of other broiler houses on the farm did not result in a higher probability of colonization. The nipple water was contaminated with the same genotype as the broilers, illustrating its importance for transmission of Campylobacter. The same genotype was detected in a water puddle and in the broiler flock during rearing in 3 flocks. Once, the same genotype was isolated from the ditch water shortly before it was detected in the broilers.
Sophie Marchand, Gonzalez Vandriesche, An Coorevits, Katleen Coudijzer, Valerie De Jonghe, Koen Dewettinck, Paul De Vos, Bart Devreese, Marc Heyndrickx, Jan De Block (2009)  Heterogeneity of heat-resistant proteases from milk Pseudomonas species.   Int J Food Microbiol 133: 1-2. 68-77 Jul  
Abstract: Pseudomonas fragi, Pseudomonas lundensis and members of the Pseudomonas fluorescens group may spoil Ultra High Temperature (UHT) treated milk and dairy products, due to the production of heat-stable proteases in the cold chain of raw milk. Since the aprX gene codes for a heat-resistant protease in P. fluorescens, the presence of this gene has also been investigated in other members of the genus. For this purpose an aprX-screening PCR test has been developed. Twenty-nine representatives of important milk Pseudomonas species and thirty-five reference strains were screened. In 42 out of 55 investigated Pseudomonas strains, the aprX gene was detected, which proves the potential of the aprX-PCR test as a screening tool for potentially proteolytic Pseudomonas strains in milk samples. An extensive study of the obtained aprX-sequences on the DNA and the amino acid level, however, revealed a large heterogeneity within the investigated milk isolates. Although this heterogeneity sets limitations to a general detection method for all proteolytic Pseudomonas strains in milk, it offers a great potential for the development of a multiplex PCR screening test targeting individual aprX-genes. Furthermore, our data illustrated the potential use of the aprX gene as a taxonomic marker, which may help in resolving the current taxonomic deadlock in the P. fluorescens group.
Björn Possé, Lieven De Zutter, Marc Heyndrickx, Lieve Herman (2008)  Novel differential and confirmation plating media for Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli serotypes O26, O103, O111, O145 and sorbitol-positive and -negative O157.   FEMS Microbiol Lett 282: 1. 124-131 May  
Abstract: This study reports two novel selective differential media. A first differential medium can be applied in methods for the isolation of non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serotypes (O26, O103, O111 and O145) from food or faeces. A second differential medium was designed for both sorbitol-positive and -negative O157 STEC strains. Selective differential media are based on a chromogenic compound to signal beta-galactosidase activity and one or more fermentative carbon sources. The chromogenic marker and carbohydrates were combined with a pH indicator and several inhibitory components, which resulted in highly specific differentiation media. Consecutive use of a serotype-dependent choice of confirmation media resulted in a very low incidence of false-positive isolates when comparing clinical STEC strains with a collection of commensal E. coli strains.
B Possé, L De Zutter, M Heyndrickx, L Herman (2008)  Quantitative isolation efficiency of O26, O103, O111, O145 and O157 STEC serotypes from artificially contaminated food and cattle faeces samples using a new isolation protocol.   J Appl Microbiol 105: 1. 227-235 Jul  
Abstract: AIMS: A range of new differential and confirmation plating media for some non-O157 Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serotypes (O26, O103, O111, O145) and both sorbitol-positive and -negative O157 were evaluated using artificially contaminated samples. METHODS AND RESULTS: Dairy products (raw milk, cheese made from pasteurized milk and raw milk), meat (ground beef, fermented meat) and cattle faeces were artificially contaminated using clinical STEC strains. Isolation efficiency was 100%, 82.3%, 88.5%, 65.9%, 64.3% and 15.8%, respectively, for an inoculum size of </=100 CFU 25 g(-1). The consecutive use of differential and confirmation media limited the incidence of false positive isolates from 0% for raw milk samples, cheese made from pasteurized milk and for fermented meat to 2.1% for cheese made from raw milk, and to 8.9% for ground beef. CONCLUSIONS: Data presented in this paper indicated that the efficiency of the applied isolation method was dependent on sample-to-sample variation but not on the inoculum size. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF STUDY: Data in this paper indicated that isolation of low levels of non-O157 and sorbitol-positive O157 STEC from food samples is possible.
N Botteldoorn, E Van Coillie, V Piessens, G Rasschaert, L Debruyne, M Heyndrickx, L Herman, W Messens (2008)  Quantification of Campylobacter spp. in chicken carcass rinse by real-time PCR.   J Appl Microbiol 105: 6. 1909-1918 Dec  
Abstract: AIMS: In this study, a real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method was examined for its ability to quantify Campylobacter spp. in chicken carcass rinses and compared with bacteriological culturing. METHODS AND RESULTS: The linearity of the real-time PCR quantification protocol was assessed on pure DNA. The amplification efficiency was 100% and the square regression coefficient (R(2)) was 0.998. Quantification was linear over at least 7 log units. Using a crude cell lysate gave the highest sensitivity and the detection limit of the method was 3.3 log CFU per carcass. The statistical correlation between the bacteriological enumeration and the real-time quantitative (Q)-PCR determined using chicken carcasses sampled at the end of the slaughter line was 0.733. The difference in detection levels was probably because of the detection of stressed, dead or viable but not culturable cells by Q-PCR. CONCLUSION: The real-time Q-PCR method described in this study is a powerful tool for determining the number of Campylobacter cells on carcasses. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: The real-time Q-PCR method is available to quantify the Campylobacter contamination at the slaughterhouse level and could be used to evaluate primary production.
A Coorevits, V De Jonghe, J Vandroemme, R Reekmans, J Heyrman, W Messens, P De Vos, M Heyndrickx (2008)  Comparative analysis of the diversity of aerobic spore-forming bacteria in raw milk from organic and conventional dairy farms.   Syst Appl Microbiol 31: 2. 126-140 Jun  
Abstract: Bacterial contamination of raw milk can originate from different sources: air, milking equipment, feed, soil, faeces and grass. It is hypothesized that differences in feeding and housing strategies of cows may influence the microbial quality of milk. This assumption was investigated through comparison of the aerobic spore-forming flora in milk from organic and conventional dairy farms. Laboratory pasteurized milk samples from five conventional and five organic dairy farms, sampled in late summer/autumn and in winter, were plated on a standard medium and two differential media, one screening for phospholipolytic and the other for proteolytic activity of bacteria. Almost 930 isolates were obtained of which 898 could be screened via fatty acid methyl ester analysis. Representative isolates were further analysed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and (GTG)(5)-PCR. The majority of aerobic spore-formers in milk belonged to the genus Bacillus and showed at least 97% 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity with type strains of Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus pumilus, Bacillus circulans, Bacillus subtilis and with type strains of species belonging to the Bacillus cereus group. About 7% of all isolates may belong to possibly new spore-forming taxa. Although the overall diversity of aerobic spore-forming bacteria in milk from organic vs. conventional dairy farms was highly similar, some differences between both were observed: (i) a relatively higher number of thermotolerant organisms in milk from conventional dairy farms compared to organic farms (41.2% vs. 25.9%), and (ii) a relatively higher number of B. cereus group organisms in milk from organic (81.3%) and Ureibacillus thermosphaericus in milk from conventional (85.7%) dairy farms. One of these differences, the higher occurrence of B. cereus group organisms in milk from organic dairy farms, may be linked to differences in housing strategy between the two types of dairy farming. However, no plausible clarification was found for the relatively higher number of thermotolerant organisms and the higher occurrence of U. thermosphaericus in milk from conventional dairy farms. Possibly this is due to differences in feeding strategy but no decisive indications were found to support this assumption.
Lies Debruyne, Emly Samyn, Evie De Brandt, Olivier Vandenberg, Marc Heyndrickx, Peter Vandamme (2008)  Comparative performance of different PCR assays for the identification of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli.   Res Microbiol 159: 2. 88-93 Mar  
Abstract: The sensitivity and specificity of 7 PCR assays described for the identification of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli were examined using alkaline cell lysates from a collection of 100 well characterized reference strains of C. jejuni, C. coli, Campylobacter lari and related Campylobacter, Helicobacter and Arcobacter species. Based on a preliminary evaluation, one multiplex test was excluded from further evaluation. The various assays differed considerably in sensitivity and specificity towards their target species. For C. coli, 4 of the 5 assays were 100% specific and sensitive, but for C. jejuni, none of the 5 assays were found to be 100% specific or sensitive. Subsequently, a statistically valid sample (n=263) was taken from a Belgian collection of 1906 human Campylobacter field isolates. This second collection was used to further evaluate two selected multiplex PCR assays. The present study indicates that PCR-based identification using each of the two selected multiplex PCR assays was highly reliable. The R-mPCR assay, followed by species-specific PCR assays or the ceu-oxr mPCR assay if necessary, is our current strategy of choice for the molecular identification of C. jejuni and C. coli. Results presented here should aid researchers in selecting a PCR assay suitable for their specific needs.
Selma Uzunović-Kamberović, Tina Zorman, Marc Heyndrickx, Sonja Smole Mozina (2007)  Role of poultry meat in sporadic Campylobacter infections in Bosnia and Herzegovina: laboratory-based study.   Croat Med J 48: 6. 842-851 Dec  
Abstract: AIM: To investigate genetic diversity and specificity of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli strains isolated from humans, retail poultry meat, and live farm chickens in Zenica-Doboj Canton, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and identify the role of poultry meat in sporadic Campylobacter infections. METHODS: We determined the type of Campylobacter species using standard microbiological methods and multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and performed pulsed field gel-electrophoresis (PFGE) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) typing of the flaA gene to investigate genetic diversity among the isolates. RESULTS: We isolated C jejuni and C coli from 75 (5.2%) of 1453 samples of consecutive outpatients with sporadic diarrhea; from 51 (34.7%) of 147 samples of poultry meat; and from 15 out of 23 farm chicken samples. The proportion of C coli found among human (30.1%), poultry meat (56.9%), and farm chicken isolates (53.3%), was greater than the proportion of C jejuni. Fourteen and 24 PFGE genotypes were identified among 20 C coli and 37 C jejuni isolates, respectively. Identical PFGE genotypes were found in two cases of human and poultry meat isolates and two cases of poultry meat and farm chicken isolates. CONCLUSION: Only a minority of human Campylobacter isolates shared identical PFGE type with poultry meat isolates. Although poultry is the source of a certain number of human infections, there may be other more important sources. Further research is required to identify the environmental reservoir of Campylobacter spp responsible for causing human disease and the reason for the high prevalence of C coli human infections in this region.
Joke De Gelder, Patsy Scheldeman, Karen Leus, Marc Heyndrickx, Peter Vandenabeele, Luc Moens, Paul De Vos (2007)  Raman spectroscopic study of bacterial endospores.   Anal Bioanal Chem 389: 7-8. 2143-2151 Dec  
Abstract: Endospores and endospore-forming bacteria were studied by Raman spectroscopy. Raman spectra were recorded from Bacillus licheniformis LMG 7634 at different steps during growth and spore formation, and from spore suspensions obtained from diverse Bacillus and Paenibacillus strains cultured in different conditions (growth media, temperature, peroxide treatment). Raman bands of calcium dipicolinate and amino acids such as phenylalanine and tyrosine are more intense in the spectra of sporulating bacteria compared with those of bacteria from earlier phases of growth. Raman spectroscopy can thus be used to detect sporulation of cells by a characteristic band at 1,018 cm(-1) from calcium dipicolinate. The increase in amino acids could possibly be explained by the formation of small acid-soluble proteins that saturate the endospore DNA. Large variations in Raman spectra of endospore suspensions of different strains or different culturing conditions were observed. Next to calcium dipicolinate, tyrosine and phenylalanine, band differences at 527 and 638 cm(-1) were observed in the spectra of some of the B. sporothermodurans spore suspensions. These bands were assigned to the incorporation of cysteine residues in spore coat proteins. In conclusion, Raman spectroscopy is a fast technique to provide useful information about several spore components.
D De Clercq, A Ceustermans, M Heyndrickx, J Coosemans, J Ryckeboer (2007)  A rapid monitoring assay for the detection of Salmonella spp. and Salmonella Senftenberg strain W775 in composts.   J Appl Microbiol 103: 6. 2102-2112 Dec  
Abstract: AIMS: The composting process needs to be validated for its hygienic status in order to ensure that it is free of pathogens. Generally, this is evaluated through temperature monitoring, or additionally through active inoculation and monitoring of indicator organisms. We aimed to develop a monitoring method for the heat-resistant indicator organism Salmonella enterica ssp. enterica serovar Senftenberg strain W775 for detection in composting biowastes. METHODS AND RESULTS: The method development is comprised of: (i) optimization of molecular detection of bacteria belonging to the genus Salmonella; (ii) identification of a DNA marker for Salmonella strain W775; and (iii) development of a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based on both DNA markers. Subsequently, Salmonella strain W775 was inoculated and monitored during composting of biowastes in an industrial composting facility. CONCLUSIONS: A highly sensitive and specific detection of viable cells was obtained by enriching the compost sample prior to multiplex PCR analysis. Complete inactivation of Salmonella strain W775 was obtained within 4 days in an industrial composting facility at temperatures ranging between 41 and 57 degrees C. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: We describe a monitoring method for the simultaneous detection of naturally occurring Salmonella strains and artificially introduced Salmonella strain W775 in composting biowastes that can be applied in routine analysis.
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