Determining the effects of propionate and low temperatures on L. monocytogenes survival and pathogenesis
Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogen with the capability of causing severe illness in individuals who consume contaminated foods. Many foods have been found to harbor the bacterium, but dairy products, produce, and other prepackaged foods are particularly susceptible. These foods and others are commonly stored in cold temperatures to limit most bacterial growth. However, previous research has shown that L. monocytogenes has unique adaptations that promote its growth in low temperatures. To counter the negative effects of cold temperatures, L. monocytogenes alters its membrane composition to maintain its integrity. Alterations to the cell membrane of L. monocytogenes are also an effect of propionate, a common food additive and short chain fatty acid found in the human intestinal tract. In past research, propionate has been proven to reduce L. monocytogenes growth and pathogenesis by decreasing membrane fluidity. However, the effects of both cold and propionate on L. monocytogenes pathogenesis are not known. To address this knowledge gap, my research investigates and analyzes how cold temperature and propionate affect the ability of L. monocytogenes to infect and grow within eukaryotic cells. I have found that propionate has no significant influence on the optical density of L. monocytogenes cultures grown between 4°C and 10°C in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions measured over four days. To further examine the effects of cold temperatures and propionate on L. monocytogenes, I will use cell culture-based infection models to measure L. monocytogenes pathogenesis and cell-cell spread in macrophage, fibroblast, and intestinal epithelial cells.
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences
Institutional Learning Goals
"Determining the effects of propionate and low temperatures on L. monocytogenes survival and pathogenesis" (2023). Stander Symposium Projects. 2817.