Twenty-five strains of Escherichia coli O157:H7 isolated from humans, cattle, and pigs were maintained in HCl (pH 2.5) and in a volatile fatty acid (VFA) mixture (pH 4.0) for up to 6 h at 37°C to assess their ability to survive in acidic conditions that simulate those of the stomach and ileum, respectively. In HCl, the average group survival of bovine strains was significantly higher than that of porcine and human strains, whereas in VFAs, porcine strains were significantly more resistant than bovine and human strains. Bovine strains exhibited significantly higher average survival in HCl than in VFAs. The average survival of strains classified as octamer-based genome scanning (OBGS) lineage II was significantly superior to that of strains classified as OBGS lineage I in HCl. The group of lineage I strains was more resistant in VFAs compared with lineage II, but only after 6 h of challenge. The possible involvement of urease in acid resistance of E. coli O157:H7 was also examined. Although the strains possessed the ureC gene, as shown by PCR, this gene did not appear to contribute to acid resistance under the conditions tested. The data indicate that there is a relationship between acid resistance and source or lineage of O157:H7 strains.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science