A Review of the Ecology, Genomics, and Stress Response of Listeria innocua and Listeria monocytogenes

Sara R. Milillo, Erik C. Friedly, Joshua C. Saldivar, Arunachalam Muthaiyan, Corliss O'Bryan, Philip G. Crandall, Michael G. Johnson, Steven C. Ricke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Listeria monocytogenes is a Gram-positive foodborne pathogen responsible for a severe disease occurring in immuno-compromised populations. Foodborne illness caused by L. monocytogenes is a serious public health concern because of the high associated mortality. Study of the closely related, but nonpathogenic Listeria innocua has accounted for a better understanding of the behavior of L. monocytogenes in environments beyond the laboratory. Traditionally, the ecological co-habitation, genomic synteny, and physiological similarity of the two species have supported use of L. innocua for predicting the behavior of L. monocytogenes in farm and food processing environments. However, a careful review of the current literature indicates that in a given situation it may not be prudent to use L. innocua as a surrogate for L. monocytogenes without prior confirmation of their similar phenotypes, as an increasing number of studies have arisen demonstrating differences in L. monocytogenes and L. innocua stress response, and furthermore, there are differences among the L. monocytogenes subgroups. Future research should take into consideration that multiple surrogates might be required to accurately model even a single condition depending on the L. monocytogenes subgroup of interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)712-725
Number of pages14
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Listeria
  • stress response
  • surrogate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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