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Survival of Listeria monocytogenes Strain H7762 and Resistance to Simulated Gastric Fluid following Exposure to Frankfurter Exudate

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Listeria monocytogenes strain H7762, a frankfurter isolate, was tested to determine whether it was able to survive at 4°C in frankfurter pack fluid (exudate) and to determine whether food exposure affects its acid sensitivity. Cultures were sampled and tested for acid sensitivity by challenge with simulated gastric fluid (SGF). SGF challenges performed immediately after inoculation revealed that between 20 and 26% of the cells survived the full 30 min of SGF challenge regardless of whether the cells were inoculated into brain heart infusion broth (BHI) or exudate. After 2 days of incubation, cells exposed to both exudate and BHI had significantly decreased SGF resistance; however, the cells exposed to exudate were significantly more SGF resistant than cells exposed to BHI (after 15 min of SGF treatment, 33% of the exudate-exposed cells survived and 12% of the BHI-exposed cells survived). L. monocytogenes exposed to exudate had greater SGF resistance at all challenge times compared with BHI-exposed cells from day 2 through day 4. From days 8 to 15, exudate-exposed cells continued to have greater SGF resistance than BHI-exposed cells up to 10 min of SGF challenge but were as sensitive as the BHI-exposed cells at 20 to 30 min of challenge. By day 25, cells exposed to exudate were significantly more sensitive to SGF challenge than BHI-exposed cells. The survivor data generated from SGF challenges were modeled by a nonlinear regression analysis to calculate the underlying distribution of SGF resistance found in the challenged populations. These analyses indicated that L. monocytogenes exposed to exudate at 4°C had a broader distribution of resistance to SGF compared with cells exposed to BHI at 4°C. In addition, the mean time of death during SGF treatment was greater after exposure to exudate, indicating that cells exposed to exudate were more resistant to killing by SGF. These data suggest that exposure to frankfurter exudate might render L. monocytogenes more able to survive the stomach environment during the initial stages of infection.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Microbial Food Safety Research Unit, Eastern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA

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