Identification of poultry meat-derived fatty acids functioning as quorum sensing signal inhibitors to autoinducer-2 (AI-2).
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Autoinducer-2 (AI-2) is a compound that plays a key role in bacterial cell-to-cell communication (quorum sensing). Previous research has shown certain food matrices inhibit this signaling compound. Using the reporter strain, Vibrio harveyi BB170, quorum-sensing inhibitors contained in poultry meat wash (PMW) samples were characterized by molecular weight and hydrophobic properties using liquid chromatography systems. Most fractions that demonstrated AI-2 inhibition were 13.7 kDa or less, and had hydrophobic properties. Hexane was used to extract inhibitory compounds from a PMW preparation and the extract was further separated by gas chromatography (GC). Several fatty acids were identified and quantified. Linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid were each tested for inhibition at 0.1, 1, and 10 mM concentrations. All samples expressed AI-2 inhibition (ranging from approximately 25% to 99%). Fatty acids, combined in concentrations equivalent to those determined by GC analysis, expressed inhibition at 59.5%, but higher combined concentrations (10- and 100-fold) had inhibition at 84.4% and 69.5%, respectively. The combined fatty acids (100-fold) did not demonstrate a substantial decrease in colony plate counts, despite presenting high AI-2 inhibition. These fatty acids, through modulating quorum sensing by inhibition, may offer a unique means to control foodborne pathogens and reduce microbial spoilage.