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Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRs) and ultraviolet visible spectroscopy (UV-vis) have been investigated as rapid techniques to characterize foodborne bacteria through the analysis of the spectra of whole cells or microbial suspensions. The use of spectra collected from broth cultures could be used as a fingerprint for strain classification using a combined polyphasic approach. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of NIRs and UV-vis for the characterization of blue strains belonging to the Pseudomonas fluorescens group. The bacteria were isolated from different food matrices, including some spoiled samples (blue discoloration). Eightyone strains previously identified at the species level were grown in Minimal Bacterial Medium broth under standard conditions at 22°C. Two biological replicates were centrifuged in order to separate the bacterial cells from the extracellular products. Six aliquots per strain were analyzed on a small ring cup in transflectance mode (680-2500 nm, gap 2 nm). A subset of 39 strains was evaluated by UV-vis to determine changes in the spectral characteristics at 48 and 72 hours. Several chemometric approaches were tested to assess the performance of NIRs and UVvis. According to the variable importance in projection (VIP), the 1892-2020 nm spectral region showed the highest level of discrimination between blue strains and others. Additional information was provided in the 680-886 and 1454-1768 nm regions (aromatic C-H bonds) and in the 2036-2134 nm region (fatty acids). Changes in UV-vis spectral data (at 48 and 72 hours) appear to indicate the presence of phenazine and catecholic compounds in extracellular products.
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