, Volume 99, Issue 2, pp 257-269

Biochemical and molecular characterization of Cronobacter spp. (formerly Enterobacter sakazakii) isolated from foods

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to identify and characterize Cronobacter spp. isolated from a range of foods. A total of 71 Cronobacter strains were isolated from 602 foods in our laboratory. The highest contamination was observed in foods of plant origin, e.g. spices, teas, chocolate, nuts, pastries and vegetables. On the basis of genus and species identification performed using genus-specific PCR, 16S rRNA sequencing and AFLP genotyping, most of the strains belonged to Cronobacter sakazakii. Biochemical profiling by the tests included in API 20E, complemented with relevant additional tests, classified the strains into 13 biogroups. AFLP genotyping facilitated discrimination of six main groups at the 70% similarity level and strain grouping correlated clearly with species identification. Our results indicate that molecular typing by AFLP may be applied as a useful tool not only for direct comparison of Cronobacter isolates, providing traceability, but also for the reliable species classification. Moreover, tracing of these bacteria in a wider variety of foods should be important to enhance the knowledge of their transmission.