ABSTRACT

Cold-smoked salmon is a ready-to-eat seafood product of high commercial importance. The processing and storage steps facilitate the introduction, growth, and persistence of foodborne pathogens and spoilage bacteria. The growth of commensal bacteria during storage and once the product is opened also influence the quality and safety of cold-smoked salmon. Here we investigated the microbial community through targeted 16S rRNA gene and shotgun metagenomic sequencing as means to better understand the interactions among bacteria in cold-smoked salmon. Cold-smoked salmon samples were tested over 30 days of aerobic storage at 4°C and cultured at each time point in a buffered Listeria enrichment broth (BLEB) commonly used to detect Listeria in foods. The microbiomes were composed of Firmicutes and Proteobacteria, namely, Carnobacterium, Brochothrix, Pseudomonas, Serratia, and Psychrobacter. Pseudomonas species were the most diverse species, with 181 taxa identified. In addition, we identified potential homologs to 10 classes of bacteriocins in microbiomes of cold-smoked salmon stored at 4°C and corresponding BLEB culture enrichments. The findings presented here contribute to our understanding of microbiome population dynamics in cold-smoked salmon, including changes in bacterial taxa during aerobic cold storage and after culture enrichment. This may facilitate improvements to pathogen detection and quality preservation of this food.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Metagenomics provides species-level resolution of cold-smoked salmon microbiomes.

  • The predominant species are Brochothrix thermosphacta and Carnobacterium divergens.

  • Bacterial diversity decreases over time during aerobic cold storage.

  • BLEB culture enrichment further reduces bacterial diversity.

  • Bacteriocins may affect the abundance of certain species over time.

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