Chicken, beams, and Campylobacter: rapid differentiation of foodborne bacteria via vibrational spectroscopy and MALDI-mass spectrometry†
Campylobacter species are one of the main causes of food poisoning worldwide. Despite the availability of established culturing and molecular techniques, due to the fastidious nature of these microorganisms, simultaneous detection and species differentiation still remains challenging. This study focused on the differentiation of eleven Campylobacter strains from six species, using Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) and Raman spectroscopies, together with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation-time of flight-mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS), as physicochemical approaches for generating biochemical fingerprints. Cluster analysis of data from each of the three analytical approaches provided clear differentiation of each Campylobacter species, which was generally in agreement with a phylogenetic tree based on 16S rRNA gene sequences. Notably, although C. fetus subspecies fetus and venerealis are phylogenetically very closely related, using FT-IR and MALDI-TOF-MS data these subspecies were readily differentiated based on differences in the lipid (2920 and 2851 cm−1) and fingerprint regions (1500–500 cm−1) of the FT-IR spectra, and the 500–2000 m/z region of the MALDI-TOF-MS data. A finding that was further investigated with targeted lipidomics using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Our results demonstrate that such metabolomics approaches combined with molecular biology techniques may provide critical information and knowledge related to the risk factors, virulence, and understanding of the distribution and transmission routes associated with different strains of foodborne Campylobacter spp.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Detecting food authenticity and integrity