Ozone Sensitivity and Catalase Activity in Pigmented and Non-Pigmented Strains of Serratia Marcescens



José de Ondarza*
Department of Biological Sciences, Plattsburgh State University of New York, NY, USA


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© 2017 José de Ondarza

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Biological Sciences, Plattsburgh State University of New York, NY, USA; Tel: 518-564-5156; Fax: 518-564-3175; E-mail: deondaj@plattsburgh.edu


Abstract

Background:

Ozone exposure rapidly leads to bacterial death, making ozone an effective disinfectant in food industry and health care arena. However, microbial defenses may moderate this effect and play a role in the effective use of oxidizing agents for disinfection. Serratia marcescens is an opportunistic pathogen, expressing genes differentially during infection of a human host. A better understanding of regulatory systems that control expression of Serratia’s virulence genes and defenses is therefore valuable.

Objective:

Here, we investigated the role of pigmentation and catalase in Serratia marcescens on survival to ozone exposure.

Method:

Pigmented and non-pigmented strains of Serratia marcescens were cultured to exponential or stationary phase and exposed to 5 ppm of gaseous ozone for 2.5 – 10 minutes. Survival was calculated via plate counts. Catalase activity was measured photometrically and tolerance to hydrogen peroxide was assayed by disk-diffusion.

Results:

Exposure of S. marcescens to 5 ppm gaseous ozone kills > 90% of cells within 10 minutes in a time and concentration-dependent manner. Although pigmented Serratia (grown at 28°C) survived ozonation better than unpigmented Serratia (grown at 35°C), non-pigmented mutant strains of Serratia had similar ozone survival rates, catalase activity and H2O2 tolerance as wild type strains. Rather, ozone survival and catalase activity were elevated in 6 hour cultures compared to 48 hour cultures.

Conclusion:

Our studies did not bear out a role for prodigiosin in ozone survival. Rather, induction of oxidative stress responses during exponential growth increased both catalase activity and ozone survival in both pigmented and unpigmented S. marcescens.

Keywords: Catalase, oxyR, ozone, pigment, peroxide, prodigiosin, Serratia.