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Direct Microscopic Observation of Viability of Campylobacter jejuni on Chicken Skin Treated with Selected Chemical Sanitizing Agents

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The objective of this research was to determine the effect of chlorine, acidified sodium chlorite, and peracetic acid treatments on viable Campylobacter jejuni located at various depths within follicles or folds of chicken skin. Chicken skin was inoculated with C. jejuni transformed with Pc gfp plasmid (GFP-Campylobacter), which also codes for kanamycin resistance. Effectiveness of sanitizer treatments was determined by plate count. C. jejuni were also observed on chicken skin by confocal scanning laser microscopy, whereby viable and nonviable cells were differentiated by their ability to take up staining with 5-cyano-2,3-ditolyl tetrazolium chloride. Sodium hypochlorite, peracetic acid, and acidified sodium chlorite were each applied at 40 or 100 ppm for 2 or 15 min. Each sanitizer resulted in approximately a 1-log decrease (CFU) when used at 100 ppm for 15 min and no significant decrease when used at 40 ppm for 2 min. Numbers of viable cells observed on the skin by direct microscopic count were similar to numbers obtained by plate count. Although viable counts decreased with sanitizer treatments, the total number of Campylobacter cells (live plus dead) attached to the skin remained unchanged. After each chemical treatment, viable C. jejuni were observed at depths of 0 to 10, 11 to 20, and 21 to 30 μm in folds or follicles of chicken skin. Most of the C. jejuni that survived treatment were located at 0 to 10 μm depth, which is where most of the viable cells were located before treatment. The inability of chemical sanitizers to effectively eliminate C. jejuni on chicken skin does not appear to be a result of protection by location in feather follicles or other depressions in the skin.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center for Food Safety, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-2106 2: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Russell Research Center, P.O. Box 5677, Athens, Georgia 30604-5677, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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