Published 2024

Read in Norwegian

Publication details

Journal : International journal of food microbiology , vol. 410 , p. 1–14–13 , 2024

Publisher : Elsevier

International Standard Numbers :
Printed : 0168-1605
Electronic : 1879-3460

Publication type : Academic article

Contributors : Møretrø, Trond; Wagner, Eva; Heir, Even; Langsrud, Solveig; Fagerlund, Annette

Research areas

Shelf life and food safety

Breeding and genetics

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Kjetil Aune
Chief Librarian


Listeria monocytogenes clonal complex 7 (CC7), belonging to lineage II, is the most common subtype among clinical listeriosis isolates in Norway, and is also commonly found in Norwegian food industry and outdoor environments. In the present study, the relative prevalence of CCs among clinical isolates of L. monocytogenes in European countries during 2010–2015 was determined. Then, phylogenomic and comparative genomic analyses was performed for 115 Norwegian and 255 international reference genomes from various sources, to examine potential explanations underlying the high prevalence of CC7 among Norwegian listeriosis cases. Selected isolates were also compared using in vitro virulence assays. The results showed a high relative prevalence of CC7 in clinical isolates from Norway and the neighboring Nordic countries Sweden and Finland. In contrast to in most other European countries, lineage II dominated among clinical isolates in these countries. Phylogenetic analysis of the 370 CC7 isolates separated the genomes into four clades, with the majority of Norwegian isolates (69 %) clustered in one of these clades, estimated to have diverged from the other clades around year 1830. The Norwegian isolates within this clade were widely distributed in different habitats; several (poultry) meat processing factories, a salmon processing plant, in nature, farms, and slugs, and among human clinical isolates. In particular, one pervasive CC7 clone was found across three poultry processing plants and one salmon processing plant, and also included three clinical isolates. All analysed CC7 isolates harbored the same set of 72 genes involved in both general and specific stress responses. Divergence was observed for plasmid-encoded genes including genes conferring resistance against arsenic (Tn554-arsCBADR), cadmium (cadA1C1 and cadA2C2), and the biocide benzalkonium chloride (bcrABC). No significant difference in prevalence of these genes was seen between isolates from different habitats or sources. Virulence attributes were highly conserved among the CC7 isolates. In vitro virulence studies of five representative CC7 isolates revealed a virulence potential that, in general, was not significantly lower than that of the control strain EGDe, with isolate-dependent differences that could not be correlated with genetic determinants. The study shows that CC7 is widespread in Norway, and that a pervasive CC7 clone was present in food processing plants. The study highlights the importance of CC7 and lineage II strains in causing listeriosis and shows that more research is needed to understand the reasons behind geographical differences in CC prevalence.


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