Antiadhesion activity of juniper (Juniperus communis L.) preparations against Campylobacter jejuni evaluated with PCR-based methods

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Abstract

The food-borne pathogen Campylobacter jejuni can cause bacterial gastrointestinal infections. Biofilm formation amplifies the risk of human infection by improving survival and persistence of C. jejuni in food processing environments and its transmission through the food chain. We aimed to control C. jejuni using an alternative strategy of low doses of Juniperus communis fruit preparations to target bacterial adhesion properties in the first step of biofilm formation. First, we defined the anti-Campylobacter activity of a juniper fruit crude extract and its fractionated biflavonoids, flavone glycosides, and purified amentoflavone, of juniper fruit essential oil and of juniper fruit postdistillation waste material extract. For accurate quantification of adherent C. jejuni, we optimised digital Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and quantitative real-time PCR for construction of standard curves and quantification. We show for the first time that juniper fruit formulations can effectively inhibit adhesion of C. jejuni to polystyrene. Furthermore, ≥94% of the antiadhesion activity of juniper fruit crude extract and juniper fruit essential oil remained under food-related conditions: modified culture medium with glucose, or a stainless steel surface, or mixed co-cultures of C. jejuni and Listeria monocytogenes. This study indicates that addition of juniper fruit formulations can control growth and adhesion of C. jejuni and thus limit food chain transmission of campylobacters.

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