Characteristics and phylogeny of Bacillus cereus strains isolated from Maari, a traditional West African food condiment

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Line Thorsen
  • Christine Kere Kando
  • Hagrétou Sawadogo
  • Larsen, Nadja
  • Bréhima Diawara
  • Georges Anicet Ouédraogo
  • Niels Bohse Hendriksen
  • Jespersen, Lene

Maari is a spontaneously fermented food condiment made from baobab tree seeds in West African countries. This type of product is considered to be safe, being consumed by millions of people on a daily basis. However, due to the spontaneous nature of the fermentation the human pathogen Bacillus cereus occasionally occurs in Maari. This study characterizes succession patterns and pathogenic potential of B. cereus isolated from the raw materials (ash, water from a drilled well (DW) and potash), seed mash throughout fermentation (0-96h), after steam cooking and sun drying (final product) from two production sites of Maari. Aerobic mesophilic bacterial (AMB) counts in raw materials were of 10(5)cfu/ml in DW, and ranged between 6.5×10(3) and 1.2×10(4)cfu/g in potash, 10(9)-10(10)cfu/g in seed mash during fermentation and 10(7) - 10(9) after sun drying. Fifty three out of total 290 AMB isolates were identified as B. cereus sensu lato by use of ITS-PCR and grouped into 3 groups using PCR fingerprinting based on Escherichia coli phage-M13 primer (M13-PCR). As determined by panC gene sequencing, the isolates of B. cereus belonged to PanC types III and IV with potential for high cytotoxicity. Phylogenetic analysis of concatenated sequences of glpF, gmk, ilvD, pta, pur, pycA and tpi revealed that the M13-PCR group 1 isolates were related to B. cereus biovar anthracis CI, while the M13-PCR group 2 isolates were identical to cereulide (emetic toxin) producing B. cereus strains. The M13-PCR group 1 isolates harboured poly-γ-D-glutamic acid capsule biosynthesis genes capA, capB and capC showing 99-100% identity with the environmental B. cereus isolate 03BB108. Presence of cesB of the cereulide synthetase gene cluster was confirmed by PCR in M13-PCR group 2 isolates. The B. cereus harbouring the cap genes were found in potash, DW, cooking water and at 8h fermentation. The "emetic" type B. cereus were present in DW, the seed mash at 48-72h of fermentation and in the final product, while the remaining isolates (PanC type IV) were detected in ash, at 48-72h fermentation and in the final product. This work sheds light on the succession and pathogenic potential of B. cereus species in traditional West African food condiment and clarifies their phylogenetic relatedness to B. cereus biovar anthracis. Future implementation of GMP and HACCP and development of starter cultures for controlled Maari fermentations will help to ensure a safe product.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Pages (from-to)70-78
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ID: 131366623