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Summary

Sprouted seeds represent a great risk for infection by human enteric pathogens because of favourable growth conditions for pathogens during their germination. The aim of this study was to identify mechanisms of interactions of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica Weltevreden with alfalfa sprouts. RNA-seq analysis of S. Weltevreden grown with sprouts in comparison with M9-glucose medium showed that among a total of 4158 annotated coding sequences, 177 genes (4.3%) and 345 genes (8.3%) were transcribed at higher levels with sprouts and in minimal medium respectively. Genes that were higher transcribed with sprouts are coding for proteins involved in mechanisms known to be important for attachment, motility and biofilm formation. Besides gene expression required for phenotypic adaption, genes involved in sulphate acquisition were higher transcribed, suggesting that the surface on alfalfa sprouts may be poor in sulphate. Genes encoding structural and effector proteins of Salmonella pathogenicity island 2, involved in survival within macrophages during infection of animal tissue, were higher transcribed with sprouts possibly as a response to environmental conditions. This study provides insight on additional mechanisms that may be important for pathogen interactions with sprouts.