Journal of Food Science and Technology

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 1903–1912 | Cite as

Spoilage of refrigerated Litopenaeus vannamei: eavesdropping on Acinetobacter acyl-homoserine lactones promotes the spoilage potential of Shewanella baltica

  • Suqin Zhu
  • Haohao Wu
  • Caili Zhang
  • Jinxin Jie
  • Zunying Liu
  • Mingyong Zeng
  • Changyun Wang
Original Article


Shewanella baltica and Acinetobacter are among the predominant spoilage bacteria in refrigerated shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). S. baltica are incapable of producing acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) quorum sensing signals, but can respond to environmental AHLs. In this paper, Acinetobacter was found to produce three AHLs, i.e. N-butanoyl-l-homoserine lactone (C4-HSL), N-(3-oxohexanoyl)-l-homoserine lactone (O-C6-HSL) and N-(3-oxooctanoyl)-l-homoserine lactone (O-C8-HSL), according to thin-layer chromatography using the bioreporter Agrobacterium tumefaciens A136. The agar diffusion and β-galactosidase assays revealed that S. baltica could eavesdrop on these three AHLs from Acinetobacter. Eavesdropping on Acinetobacter AHLs especially C4-HSL was found to boost the growth of S. baltica particularly under nutrient limiting conditions (up to 40-fold increase) in the co-culture experiments. The azocasein assay revealed that S. baltica produced fourfold more extracellular proteases in response to Acinetobacter AHLs. As demonstrated by the biofilm crystal violet staining assay and confocal laser scanning microscopy, eavesdropping also decreased the biofilm-forming capacity of Acinetobacter. By inoculation of S. baltica and Acinetobacter onto surface-sterilized shrimp, eavesdropping was found to endow a growth advantage to S. baltica in vivo, resulting in a 0.5 day shortened shelf life of shrimp according to total volatile basic nitrogen levels and sensory analysis. Overall, the AHL-dependent eavesdropping increased the spoilage potential of S. baltica, providing a fresh perspective on the spoilage process of refrigerated L. vannamei, and this may inspire the development of novel preservation techniques in the future to further reduce post-harvest loss of shrimp.


Shrimp Spoilage Eavesdropping Quorum sensing Extracellular proteases Biofilm 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31671919), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Grant No. 2016M592252), and the Qingdao Postdoctoral Applied Research Project (Grant No. 2015239).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Association of Food Scientists & Technologists (India) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suqin Zhu
    • 1
  • Haohao Wu
    • 1
  • Caili Zhang
    • 1
  • Jinxin Jie
    • 1
  • Zunying Liu
    • 1
  • Mingyong Zeng
    • 1
  • Changyun Wang
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Food Science and EngineeringOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  2. 2.School of Medicine and PharmacyOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina

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