Bacterial profile of pork from production to retail based on high-throughput sequencing

Yejin Kim, Ga Hee Ban, Ye Won Hong, Kwangcheol Casey Jeong, Dongryeoul Bae, Sun Ae Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Pork is a common vehicle for foodborne pathogens, including Salmonella spp. and Yersinia enterocolitica. Cross-contamination can occur at any stage of the pork production chain, from farm to market. In the present study, high-throughput sequencing was used to characterize bacterial profiles and track their changes along the whole supply chain. Tracked meat samples (pig on the farm, carcass in the slaughterhouse, unprocessed carcass and processed meat in the processing plant, and fresh pork at the local retail stores) and their associated environmental samples (e.g., water, floor, feed, feces, and workers' gloves) were collected from sequential stages (n = 96) and subjected to 16S rRNA metataxonomic analyses. At the farm, a total of 652 genera and 146 exclusive genera were identified in animal and environmental samples (pig, drain, floor, fan, and feces). Based on beta diversity analysis, it was demonstrated that the microbial composition of animal samples collected at the same processing step is similar to that of environmental samples (e.g., drain, fan, feces, feed, floor, gloves, knives, tables, and water). All animal and environmental samples from the slaughterhouse were dominated by Acinetobacter (55.37 %). At the processing plant, belly meat and neck meat samples were dominated by Psychrobacter (55.49 %). At the retail level, key bacterial players, which are potential problematic bacteria and important members with a high relative abundance in the samples, included Acinetobacter (8.13 %), Pseudomonas (6.27 %), and Staphylococcus (2.13 %). In addition, the number of confirmed genera varied by more than twice that identified in the processing plant. Source tracking was performed to identify bacterial contamination routes in pork processing. Animal samples, including the processing plant's carcass, the pig from the farm, and the unwashed carcass from the slaughterhouse (77.45 %), along with the processing plant's gloves (5.71 %), were the primary bacterial sources in the final product. The present study provides in-depth knowledge about the bacterial players and contamination points within the pork production chain. Effective control measures are needed to control pathogens and major pollutants at each stage of pork production to improve food safety.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113745
JournalFood Research International
StatePublished - Jan 2024

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© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • 16S rRNA metataxonomic analysis
  • Bacterial profile
  • High-throughput sequencing
  • Microbiome
  • Pork production chain


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