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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Biology and Control of Human Pathogens on Fresh Produce

Location: Produce Safety and Microbiology Research

Title: Salmonella interactions with plants and their associated microbiota

Authors
item Brandl, Maria
item Cox, Clayton -
item Teplitski, Max -

Submitted to: Phytopathology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: January 8, 2013
Publication Date: March 19, 2013
Repository URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO-11-12-0295-RVW
Citation: Brandl, M., Cox, C.E., Teplitski, M. 2013. Salmonella interactions with plants and their associated microbiota. Phytopathology. 103:316-325.

Interpretive Summary: Enteric disease caused by Salmonella is a major threat public health and has been increasing linked to fresh produce, spices, and nuts. Salmonella has the ability to colonize plant surfaces and uses specific genetic determinants to attach to and proliferate on plants, and interact with the natural plant microflora. Mounting evidence supports the hypothesis that colonization of plants is an important part of the life cycle of this human pathogen. Salmonella can be recognized by components of the plant basal immunity, most likely via conserved microbial surface patterns. Importantly, Salmonella utilizes diverse and overlapping strategies to interact with plants and their associated microbes, and to successfully colonize its vertebrate hosts. This behavior reveals the remarkable adaptation of this human pathogen to a potentially secondary host.

Technical Abstract: The increase in the incidence of gastroenteritis outbreaks linked to the consumption of foods of plant origin has ignited public concern and scientific interest in understanding interactions of human enteric pathogens with plants. Enteric disease caused by non-typhoidal Salmonella is a major public health burden, with the number of cases of illness linked to fresh produce, spices, and nuts surpassing those linked to foods of animal origin. Mounting evidence supports the hypothesis that colonization of plants is an important part of the life cycle of this human pathogen. Although plant responses to human pathogens are distinct from the more specific responses to phytopathogens, plants appear to recognize Salmonella, likely by detecting conserved microbial patterns, which subsequently activates basal defenses. Numerous Salmonella genes have been identified as playing a role in its colonization of plant surfaces and tissues, and in its various interactions with other members of the phyto-microbial community. This review provides insight into the complex behavior of Salmonella on plants and the apparent remarkable adaptation of this human pathogen to a potentially secondary host.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014