The glutamate decarboxylase acid resistance mechanism affects survival of Listeria monocytogenes LO28 in modified atmosphere-packaged foods


Gillian A. Francis, Food Science Research Centre, Department of Life Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.


Aims:  The contribution of the glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) acid resistance system to survival and growth of Listeria monocytogenes LO28 in modified atmosphere-packaged foods was examined.

Methods and Results:  The survival and growth of the wild-type LO28 and four GAD deletion mutants (ΔgadA, ΔgadB, ΔgadC, ΔgadAB) in packaged foods (minced beef, lettuce, dry coleslaw mix) during storage at 4, 8 and 15°C were studied. Survival and growth patterns varied with strain, product type, gas atmosphere and storage temperature. In minced beef, the wild-type LO28 survived better (< 0·05) than the GAD mutant strains at 8 and 15°C. In both packaged vegetables at all storage temperatures, the wild-type strain survived better (P < 0·05) than the double mutant ΔgadAB. The requirement for the individual gad genes varied depending on the packaged food. In the case of lettuce, gadA played the most important role, while the gadB and gadC genes played the greatest role in packaged coleslaw (at 15°C).

Conclusions:  This work demonstrates that elements of the GAD system play significant roles in survival of L. monocytogenes LO28 during storage in modified atmosphere-packaged foods.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  A better understanding of how L. monocytogenes behaves in modified atmosphere-packaged foods, and how it responds to elevated carbon dioxide atmospheres.