Talat Rahmati

University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst Center, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (3)6.78 Total impact

  • Ronald Labbé · Talat Rahmati
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    ABSTRACT: We previously demonstrated the widespread presence of enterotoxigenic Bacillus cereus in marine foods. In view of the widespread consumption of raw fish, we sought to determine the ability of this organism to grow on the surface of wild Alaskan salmon at abusive temperatures (12, 16, and 20°C), using an isolate able to produce elevated levels of hemolysin BL enterotoxin and nonhemolytic enterotoxin. An incubation temperature of 37°C for colony formation was found to be selective for B. cereus grown on salmon held for up to 24 h at each temperature. A fivefold increase in log CFU per gram was observed after 26 and 22 h at 16 and 20°C, respectively, while a >4-log CFU/g increase occurred on salmon held at 12°C for 48 h. Generation times of 169.7, 53.5, and 45.6 min were observed at 12, 16, and 20°C. Nonhemolytic enterotoxin was detected when levels of B. cereus were in excess of 10(8) CFU/g. Nisin, at concentrations of 1 and 15 m g/g of salmon, reduced levels of B. cereus 2.5- and 25-fold, respectively. Our results indicate that fresh salmon can serve as an excellent substrate for enterotoxigenic B. cereus and that this organism can reach levels associated with foodborne illness following moderate temperature abuse.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Journal of food protection
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    ABSTRACT: Bacillus cereus is a gram-positive, endospore forming pathogenic bacterium that is ubiquitous in the environment and is frequently associated with emetic and diarrheal types of foodborne illness. In this study, 178 samples of raw rice from retail food stores were analyzed for the presence of B. cereus spores. Spores of Bacillus species were found in 94 (52.8%) of the rice samples with an average concentration of 32.6 CFU/g (3.6-460 CFU/g for B. cereus and 3.6-23 CFU/g for Bacillus thuringiensis). Eighty three of the 94 isolates were identified as B. cereus and 11 were identified as B. thuringiensis. Bacillus mycoides (240 CFU/g) was the predominant isolate in one rice sample. Using PCR the isolates were checked for the presence of the cereulide synthetase gene (ces), the hblA and hblD genes of the hemolysin BL (HBL) complex and the nheA and nheB genes of the nonhemolytic (NHE) enterotoxin complex. The ces gene was not identified in any of the isolates. By contrast 47 (56.6%) B. cereus isolates possessed the hblA and hblD genes and 74 (89.1%) isolates possessed the nheA and nheB genes. As determined by commercial assay kits, forty four (53.0%) of the 83 B. cereus isolates produced both NHE and HBL enterotoxins whereas 78 (93.9%) were positive for either one or the other. Protein toxin crystals were detected visually in the 11 B. thuringiensis isolates. PCR analysis revealed 10 (90.9%) of those 11 isolates carried the cry gene. All the B. thuringiensis isolates were positive for NHE and HBL enterotoxins. Our results suggest that foodborne illness in the U.S. due to B. cereus with rice as the vehicle would be most likely associated with the diarrheal-type syndrome.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2008 · International Journal of Food Microbiology
  • T Rahmati · R Labbe
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    ABSTRACT: For the period 1990 through 2003, seafood was the most commonly identified food linked to foodborne outbreaks in the United States. Fish as a commodity has rarely been examined for the presence of Bacillus cereus in particular. For the present study, 347 fresh and processed retail seafood samples were examined for the presence of Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium perfringens, and B. cereus. The presence of C. botulinum was not confirmed in any of the isolates, but C. perfringens was confirmed in 17 samples. One of the C. perfringens isolates possessed the enterotoxin gene, as determined by PCR. In contrast, 62 confirmed B. cereus isolates were obtained from separate samples at levels ranging from 3.6 to > 1,100 CFU/g. Thirty (48%) of 62 isolates produced both the hemolysin BL (HBL) and nonhemolytic (NHE) enterotoxins, and 58 (94%) and 31 (50%) produced NHE or HBL toxins, respectively. The presence of at least one of the three genes of the NHE complex was detected in 99% of the isolates; 69% of the isolates possessed all three genes. In contrast, 71% of the isolates possessed at least one of the three genes of the HBL complex, and 37% possessed all three HBL gene components. Fifty of the 62 B. cereus isolates were from imported seafood, and 19 (38%) of these samples were at levels > 100 CFU/g. Twelve of the 14 highest enterotoxin assay results were from isolates from imported food. Only one B. cereus isolate possessed the cereulide synthetase gene, ces; this isolate also possessed the genes for the three-component HBL and NHE complexes. A majority of enterotoxin-producing isolates were resistant to 2 of 10 antibiotics tested, ceftriaxone and clindamycin. Our results demonstrate the potential of seafood as a vehicle for foodborne illness caused by B. cereus, in particular the enterotoxin-producing genotype.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2008 · Journal of food protection

Publication Stats

108 Citations
6.78 Total Impact Points


  • 2008-2012
    • University of Massachusetts Amherst
      • Department of Food Science
      Amherst Center, Massachusetts, United States