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Abstract

The complex (Bcc) is a closely related group of bacteria, composed of at least 20 different species, the accurate identification of which is essential in the context of infectious diseases. In industry, they can contaminate non-food products, including home and personal care products and cosmetics. The Bcc are problematic contaminants due to their ubiquitous presence and intrinsic antimicrobial resistance, which enables them to occasionally overcome preservation systems in non-sterile products. and are amongst the Bcc bacteria encountered most frequently as industrial contaminants, but their identification is not straightforward. Both species were historically established as a part of a group known collectively as taxon K, based upon analysis of the gene and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Here, we deploy a straightforward genomics-based workflow for accurate Bcc classification using average nucleotide identity (ANI) and core-gene analysis. The workflow was used to examine a panel of 23 taxon K industrial strains, which, based on MLST, comprised 13 4 and 6 unclassified Bcc strains. Our genomic identification showed that the strains retained their classification, whilst the remaining strains were reclassified as sp. nov. Incorrect taxonomic identification of industrial contaminants is a problematic issue. Application and testing of our genomic workflow allowed the correct classification of 23 Bcc industrial strains, and also indicated that sp. nov. may have greater importance than as a contaminant species. Our study illustrates how the non-food manufacturing industry can harness whole-genome sequencing to better understand antimicrobial-resistant bacteria affecting their products.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (Award BB/M009122/1)
    • Principle Award Recipient: EdwardCunningham-Oakes
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.
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2021-04-23
2022-01-21
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