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Improved Quantitative Recovery of Listeria monocytogenes from Stainless Steel Surfaces Using a One-Ply Composite Tissue

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Abstract:

Four sampling devices, a sterile environmental sponge (ES), a sterile cotton-tipped swab (CS), a sterile calcium alginate fiber-tipped swab (CAS), and a one-ply composite tissue (CT), were evaluated for quantitative recovery of Listeria monocytogenes from a food-grade stainless steel surface. Sterile 304-grade stainless steel plates (6 by 6 cm) were inoculated with approximately 106 CFU/cm2 L. monocytogenes strain Scott A and dried for 1 h. The ES and CT sampling devices were rehydrated in phosphate buffer solution. After plate swabbing, ES and CT were placed in 40 ml of phosphate buffer solution, stomached for 1 min and hand massaged for 30 s. Each CS and CAS device was rehydrated in 0.1% peptone before swabbing. After swabbing, CS and CAS were vortexed in 0.1% peptone for 1 min. Samples were spiral plated on modified Oxford agar with modified Oxford agar Rodac Contact plates used to recover any remaining cells from the stainless steel surface. Potential inhibition from CT was examined in both phosphate buffer solution and in a modified disc-diffusion assay. Recovery was 2.70, 1.34, and 0.62 log greater using CT compared with ES, CS, and CAS, respectively, with these differences statistically significant (P < 0.001) for ES and CT and for CAS, CS, and CT (P < 0.05). Rodac plates were typically overgrown following ES, positive after CS and CAS, and negative after CT sampling. CT was noninhibitory in both phosphate buffer solution and the modified disc-diffusion assay. Using scanning electron microscopy, Listeria cells were observed on stainless steel plates sampled with each sampling device except CT. The CT device, which is inexpensive and easy to use, represents a major improvement over other methods in quantifying L. monocytogenes on stainless steel surfaces and is likely applicable to enrichment of environmental samples.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, 2108 South Anthony Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA 2: National Food Safety and Toxicology Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2004

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