Special Issue "Foodborne Intoxications and Toxicoinfections—Major Pathogens and Challenges"

A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651). This special issue belongs to the section "Bacterial Toxins".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Sophia Johler
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Guest Editor
Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Interests: Food safety and hygiene; foodborne pathogens; microbial toxins; microbiology; microbial source tracking; novel diagnostic platforms
Dr. Alexandra Fetsch
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department of Biological Safety Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Interests: Food Microbiology and Safety
Dr. Danai Etter
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health, Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Interests: food microbiology; microbial toxins; gene regulation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Microbial organisms producing toxins encountered in food are a major threat to human health and lead to substantial economic losses. While toxins produced by organisms such as Staphylococcus, Bacillus and Clostridium have been the focus of scientific research for decades, major questions remain unanswered. For instance, the regulation of staphylococcal enterotoxins and the role of newly described staphylococcal enterotoxins is still poorly understood. In addition, major advances in whole genome sequencing have led to paradigm shifts and have amongst others initiated a collapse of traditional taxonomy-driven risk assessment in the Bacillus cereus group. Long-standing perceptions of the risk related to certain species have been questioned. While e.g. Bacillus thuringiensis and Clostridium difficile have been discussed as potential causative organisms in outbreaks, species traditionally exclusively associated with high toxicity such as Bacillus cytotoxicus have been shown to exhibit strong strain-specific variation in toxin production. Also, the food matrix itself has a strong impact on the formation and stability of toxins. The lack of accurate and robust high-throughput detection and characterization methods as well as the broad variety of food matrices has limited the data available to date – a situation that is further exacerbated by wide-spread underreporting.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to publish both original research and review articles allowing for an overview of the state of the art in this field.

Dr. Sophia Johler
Dr. Alexandra Fetsch
Dr. Danai Etter
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxins is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Staphylococcus
  • Bacillus
  • Clostridium
  • regulation of toxin formation
  • outbreak investigation
  • detection
  • risk assessment
  • food matrix
  • detection methods
  • toxicity

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Impact of Phytochemicals on Viability and Cereulide Toxin Synthesis in Bacillus cereus Revealed by a Novel High-Throughput Method, Coupling an AlamarBlue-Based Assay with UPLC-MS/MS
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 672; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090672 - 21 Sep 2021
Viewed by 578
Abstract
Due to its food-poisoning potential, Bacillus cereus has attracted the attention of the food industry. The cereulide-toxin-producing subgroup is of particular concern, as cereulide toxin is implicated in broadscale food-borne outbreaks and occasionally causes fatalities. The health risks associated with long-term cereulide exposure [...] Read more.
Due to its food-poisoning potential, Bacillus cereus has attracted the attention of the food industry. The cereulide-toxin-producing subgroup is of particular concern, as cereulide toxin is implicated in broadscale food-borne outbreaks and occasionally causes fatalities. The health risks associated with long-term cereulide exposure at low doses remain largely unexplored. Natural substances, such as plant-based secondary metabolites, are widely known for their effective antibacterial potential, which makes them promising as ingredients in food and also as a surrogate for antibiotics. In this work, we tested a range of structurally related phytochemicals, including benzene derivatives, monoterpenes, hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives and vitamins, for their inhibitory effects on the growth of B. cereus and the production of cereulide toxin. For this purpose, we developed a high-throughput, small-scale method which allowed us to analyze B. cereus survival and cereulide production simultaneously in one workflow by coupling an AlamarBlue-based viability assay with ultraperformance liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). This combinatory method allowed us to identify not only phytochemicals with high antibacterial potential, but also ones specifically eradicating cereulide biosynthesis already at very low concentrations, such as gingerol and curcumin. Full article
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Communication
Distribution of the Emetic Toxin Cereulide in Cow Milk
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 528; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080528 - 28 Jul 2021
Viewed by 703
Abstract
Bacillus cereus is frequently associated with food-borne intoxications, and its emetic toxin cereulide causes emesis and nausea after consumption of contaminated foods. The major source for contamination is found within contaminated raw materials containing the highly chemically resistant cereulide, independent of vegetative bacteria [...] Read more.
Bacillus cereus is frequently associated with food-borne intoxications, and its emetic toxin cereulide causes emesis and nausea after consumption of contaminated foods. The major source for contamination is found within contaminated raw materials containing the highly chemically resistant cereulide, independent of vegetative bacteria cells. Up to date, non-existing removal strategies for cereulide evoke the question of how the toxin is distributed within a food sample, especially cow milk. Milk samples with different milk fat contents were incubated with purified cereulide, separated by centrifugation into a lipid and an aqueous phase, and cereulide was quantified in both fractions by SIDA-LC-MS/MS. By artificially increasing the milk fat content from 0.5% to 50%, the amount of cereulide recovered in the lipid phase and could be augmented from 13.3 to 78.6%. Further, the ratio of cereulide increased in the lipid phase of milk with additional plant-based lipid (sunflower oil) to 47.8%. This demonstrated a clear affinity of cereulide towards the hydrophobic, lipid phase, aligning with cereulide’s naturally strong hydrophobic properties. Therefore, an intensified cereulide analysis of lipid enriched dairy products to prevent severe cereulide intoxications or cross-contamination in processed foods is suggested. Full article
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Communication
Further Insights into the Toxicity of Bacillus cytotoxicus Based on Toxin Gene Profiling and Vero Cell Cytotoxicity Assays
Toxins 2021, 13(4), 234; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13040234 - 24 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1217
Abstract
Bacillus cytotoxicus belongs to the Bacillus cereus group that also comprises the foodborne pathogen Bacillus cereus sensu stricto, Bacillus anthracis causing anthrax, as well as the biopesticide Bacillus thuringiensis. The first B. cytotoxicus was isolated in the context of a severe food [...] Read more.
Bacillus cytotoxicus belongs to the Bacillus cereus group that also comprises the foodborne pathogen Bacillus cereus sensu stricto, Bacillus anthracis causing anthrax, as well as the biopesticide Bacillus thuringiensis. The first B. cytotoxicus was isolated in the context of a severe food poisoning outbreak leading to fatal cases of diarrheal disease. Subsequent characterization of the outbreak strain led to the conclusion that this Bacillus strain was highly cytotoxic and eventually resulted in the description of a novel species, whose name reflects the observed toxicity: B. cytotoxicus. However, only a few isolates of this species have been characterized with regard to their cytotoxic potential and the role of B. cytotoxicus as a causative agent of food poisoning remains largely unclear. Hence, the aim of this study was to gain further insights into the toxicity of B. cytotoxicus. To this end, 19 isolates were obtained from mashed potato powders and characterized by toxin gene profiling and Vero cell cytotoxicity assays. All isolates harbored the cytK1 (cytotoxin K1) gene and species-specific variants of the nhe (non-hemolytic enterotoxin) gene. The isolates exhibited low or no toxicity towards Vero cells. Thus, this study indicates that the cytotoxic potential of B. cytotoxicus may be potentially lower than initially assumed. Full article
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