Draft genomes of Cronobacter sakazakii strains isolated from dried spices bring unique insights into the diversity of plant-associated strains

Hyein Jang*, Jungha Woo, Youyoung Lee, Flavia Negrete, Samantha Finkelstein, Hannah R. Chase, Nicole Addy, Laura Ewing, Junia Jean Gilles Beaubrun, Isha Patel, Jayanthi Gangiredla, Athmanya Eshwar, Ziad W. Jaradat, Kunho Seo, Srikumar Shabarinath, Séamus Fanning, Roger Stephan, Angelika Lehner, Ben D. Tall, Gopal R. Gopinath

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Cronobacter sakazakii is a Gram-negative opportunistic pathogen that causes life- threatening infantile infections, such as meningitis, septicemia, and necrotizing enterocolitis, as well as pneumonia, septicemia, and urinary tract and wound infections in adults. Here, we report 26 draft genome sequences of C. sakazakii, which were obtained from dried spices from the USA, the Middle East, China, and the Republic of Korea. The average genome size of the C. sakazakii genomes was 4393 kb, with an average of 4055 protein coding genes, and an average genome G + C content of 56.9%. The genomes contained genes related to carbohydrate transport and metabolism, amino acid transport and metabolism, and cell wall/membrane biogenesis. In addition, we identified genes encoding proteins involved in osmotic responses such as DnaJ, Aquaproin Z, ProQ, and TreF, as well as virulence-related and heat shock-related proteins. Interestingly, a metabolic island comprised of a variably-sized xylose utilization operon was found within the spice-associated C. sakazakii genomes, which supports the hypothesis that plants may serve as transmission vectors or alternative hosts for Cronobacter species. The presence of the genes identified in this study can support the remarkable phenotypic traits of C. sakazakii such as the organism's capabilities of adaptation and survival in response to adverse growth environmental conditions (e.g. osmotic and desiccative stresses). Accordingly, the genome analyses provided insights into many aspects of physiology and evolutionary history of this important foodborne pathogen.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
JournalStandards in Genomic Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the student internship programs sponsored by the Offices of International Affairs of Gachon University, Seongnam-si, Republic of Korea for supporting student interns: Jungha Woo and Youyoung Lee. We thank the University of Maryland at College Park, Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) for supporting JIFSAN interns Samantha Finkelstein and Flavia Negrete. We also thank the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education of Oak Ridge, Tennessee for sponsoring research fellows Hannah R. Chase, Nicole Addy, and Hyein Jang.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).


  • Cronobacter sakazakii
  • Draft Genomes
  • Dried Spices
  • Plant-origin
  • WGS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Draft genomes of Cronobacter sakazakii strains isolated from dried spices bring unique insights into the diversity of plant-associated strains'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this