Acinetobacter as a potentially important producer of urocanic acid in chub mackerel, a histidine metabolite of emerging health concern
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Urocanic acid, deaminated histidine and the first intermediate in the histidine utilization (Hut) pathway in bacteria, has recently been suggested to have adverse health effects by inducing scombrotoxicosis and immunosuppression after trans–cis isomerization. This work aimed to shed some light on the microbiology of its formation in scombroid fish, given that such information is very scarce. The isolation of urocanic acid producers from chub mackerel was basically based on enrichment of bacteria possessing the Hut pathway with histidine as the sole source of carbon, energy, and nitrogen. Morphological and molecular identification revealed that the isolates (n = 12), taken from the skin, gills, and intestine, were comprised entirely of Acinetobacter from at least five species. This implies that the Hut pathway in the microbes can be particularly active and as such conferred a growth advantage. Dynamic monitoring of bacterial growth and urocanic acid production in fish juice broth indicated that urocanic acid is a primary metabolite and its production is a closely growth-associated process. This in turn implies that its production can be controlled directly by suppressing the bacterial growth. Several potential methods are proposed through a study of the growth characteristics and preservative susceptibility of representative isolates. In conclusion, this work suggests that Acinetobacter can constitute a potentially important group of urocanic acid producers in chub mackerel.
KeywordsUrocanic acid Acinetobacter Histidine utilization pathway Chub mackerel
This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant number 2016YFD0400301) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant number 31701715). The authors are indebted to Patrick Leung for English proofreading.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Compliance with ethics requirements
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.
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