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Occurrence of genes encoding spore germination in Clostridium species that cause meat spoilage

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posted on 2023-05-03, 19:56 authored by Sara Burgess, Faith PalevichFaith Palevich, Amanda Gardner, John MillsJohn Mills, Gale BrightwellGale Brightwell, Nik PalevichNik Palevich
Members of the genus Clostridium are frequently associated with meat spoilage. The ability for low numbers of spores of certain Clostridium species to germinate in cold-stored vacuum-packed meat can result in blown pack spoilage. However, little is known about the germination process of these clostridia, despite this characteristic being important for their ability to cause spoilage. This study sought to determine the genomic conditions for germination of 37 representative Clostridium strains from seven species (C. estertheticum, C. tagluense, C. frigoris, C. gasigenes, C. putrefaciens, C. aligidicarnis and C. frigdicarnis) by comparison with previously characterized germination genes from C. perfringens, C. sporogenes and C. botulinum. All the genomes analysed contained at least one gerX operon. Seven different gerX operon configuration types were identified across genomes from C. estertheticum, C. tagluense and C. gasigenes. Differences arose between the C. gasigenes genomes and those belonging to C. tagluense/C. estertheticum in the number and type of genes coding for cortex lytic enzymes, suggesting the germination pathway of C. gasigenes is different. However, the core components of the germination pathway were conserved in all the Clostridium genomes analysed, suggesting that these species undergo the same major steps as Bacillus subtilis for germination to occur.


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© 2022 The Authors. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.


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Microbiology Society

Journal title

Microbial Genomics




Burgess, S. A., Palevich, F. P., Gardner, A., Mills, J., Brightwell, G., & Palevich, N. (2022). Occurrence of genes encoding spore germination in Clostridium species that cause meat spoilage. Microbial Genomics, 8(2), 000767.

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