Research – Dynamic Changes of Bacterial Communities and Microbial Association Networks in Ready-to-Eat Chicken Meat during Storage

MDPI

Ready-to-eat (RTE) chicken is a popular food in China, but its lack of food safety due to bacterial contamination remains a concern, and the dynamic changes of microbial association networks during storage are not fully understood. This study investigated the impact of storage time and temperature on bacterial compositions and microbial association networks in RTE chicken using 16S rDNA high-throughput sequencing. The results show that the predominant phyla present in all samples were Proteobacteria and Firmicutes, and the most abundant genera were WeissellaPseudomonas and Proteus. Increased storage time and temperature decreased the richness and diversity of the microorganisms of the bacterial communities. Higher storage temperatures impacted the bacterial community composition more significantly. Microbial interaction analyses showed 22 positive and 6 negative interactions at 4 °C, 30 positive and 12 negative interactions at 8 °C and 44 positive and 45 negative interactions at 22 °C, indicating an increase in the complexity of interaction networks with an increase in the storage temperature. Enterobacter dominated the interactions during storage at 4 and 22 °C, and Pseudomonas did so at 22 °C. Moreover, interactions between pathogenic and/or spoilage bacteria, such as those between Pseudomonas fragi and Weissella viridescensEnterobacter unclassified and Proteus unclassified, or those between Enterobacteriaceae unclassified and W.viridescens, were observed. This study provides insight into the process involved in RTE meat spoilage and can aid in improving the quality and safety of RTE meat products to reduce outbreaks of foodborne illness. View Full-Text

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