Get access

The Cronobacter genus: ubiquity and diversity


S.J. Forsythe, School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, Nottingham NG11 8NS, UK. Tel: ++0115 8483 529
Fax: ++0115 8486 636


Members of the Cronobacter genus (formerly Enterobacter sakazakii) have become associated with neonatal infections and in particular contaminated reconstituted infant formula. However, this is only one perspective of the organism as the majority of infections are in the adult population, and the organism has been isolated from the enteral feeding tubes of neonates on non-formula diets. In recent years methods of detection from food and environmental sources have improved, though accurate identification has been problematic. The need for robust identification is essential in order to implement recent Codex Alimentarius Commission and related microbiological criteria for powdered infant formula (intended target age 0–6 months). Genomic analysis of emergent pathogens is of considerable advantage in both improving detection methods, and understanding the evolution of virulence. One ecosystem for Cronobacter is on plant material, which may enable the organism to resist desiccation, adhere to surfaces, and resist some antimicrobial agents. These traits may also confer survival mechanisms of relevance in food manufacturing and also virulence mechanisms.

Kucerova E, Joseph S, Forsythe S (2011). The Cronobacter genus: ubiquity and diversity. Quality Assurance and Safety of Crops & Foods, 3, 104–122