High virulence Proteus mirabilis strains cause acceleration of decay of fresh-cut fruits

Lanhua Yi, Ping Zeng, Jitao Tang, Junhe Ren, Kaifang Zeng, Sheng Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The role of Proteus mirabilis on food safety has not been investigated before. Three P. mirabilis strains (swupm1, swupm2 and swupm3) isolated from fresh-cut fruits were shown to vary in swarming motility, with strains swupm1 and swupm2, but not swupm3 exhibiting the characteristic bull's-eye phenotype. Strains swupm1 and swupm2 grew faster and produced stronger biofilm than swupm3. These strains were all multidrug resistant and exhibited high virulence in Galleria mellonella (100% mortality at around 100 CFU inoculum) with swupm1 being the most virulent one. P. mirabilis was shown to be able to survive in fresh-cut cantaloupe at 4 °C and facilitate the growth of other bacteria. At 25 °C, P. mirabilis could significantly accelerate the decay of fresh-cut fruits. Headspace gas chromatography–ion mobility spectrometry (HS-GC-IMS) analysis showed that P. mirabilis strain swupm1 could cause dramatic changes in the volatile components of fresh-cut cantaloupe, such as ethyl acetate, ethanol and formic acid. This study indicates that P. mirabilis can accelerate the decay of fresh-cut fruits and that the virulence level of these strains seems to be closely associated with the adverse effect of such strains on food quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114820
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • Food safety
  • Fresh-cut fruits
  • Proteus mirabilis
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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