Effects of Antibacterial Dishwashing Liquid on Foodborne Pathogens and Competitive Microorganisms in Kitchen Sponges

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In response to increasing concern about home hygiene, the use of antibacterial products to reduce microorganisms in kitchen sponges and cleaning cloths is strongly promoted by some producers of detergent for domestic use. The effects of an antibacterial dishwashing liquid on Escherichia coli, Salmonella Enteritidis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus cereus were investigated in a modified suspension test and in used sponges with and without food residues under laboratory conditions. A limited study was conducted in households to assess the efficacy of antibacterial dishwashing liquid as used by the consumer. In the suspension tests, S. aureus and B. cereus were shown to be susceptible to low concentrations of antibacterial dishwashing liquid (0.5%), whereas E. coli and Salmonella Enteritidis maintained their initial numbers for at least 24 h at 25°C. At higher concentrations (2 to 4%), all test organisms decreased to below the detection limit after 24 h. Over a 24-h period, the antibacterial dishwashing liquid did not significantly reduce these organisms in used sponges in which food residues were present. The antibacterial product did not reduce the competitive microorganisms either. Similar results were found for sponges involved in daily household use. The results of this study demonstrate that the antibacterial dishwashing liquid was effective in reducing pathogens in the suspension test but not in the used sponges. This finding indicates that to determine the efficacy of antibacterial products, their use in a household setting must be considered.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory of Food Microbiology, Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8129, 6700 EV Wageningen, The Netherlands

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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