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Effects of Inoculation Level, Material Hydration, and Stainless Steel Surface Roughness on the Transfer of Listeria monocytogenes from Inoculated Bologna to Stainless Steel and High-Density Polyethylene

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The influence of inoculation level, material hydration, and stainless steel surface roughness on the transfer of Listeria monocytogenes from inoculated bologna to processing surfaces (stainless steel and polyethylene) was assessed. Slices of bologna (14 g) were inoculated with Listeria at different levels, from 105 to 109 CFU/cm2. Transfer experiments were done at a constant contact time (30 s) and pressure (45 kPa) with a universal testing machine. After transfer, cells that had been transferred to sterile stainless steel and polyethylene were removed and counted, and the efficiency of transfer (EOT) was calculated. As the inoculation level increased from 105 to 109 CFU/cm2, the absolute level of transfer increased in a similar fashion. By calculating EOTs, the data were normalized, and the initial inoculation level had no effect on the transfer (P > 0.05). The influence of hydration level on stainless steel, high-density polyethylene, and material type was investigated, and the EOTs ranged from 0.1 to 1 under all the conditions tested. Our results show that transfers to wetted processing surfaces (mean EOT = 0.43) were no different from dried processing surfaces (mean EOT = 0.35) (P > 0.05). Material type was shown to be a significant factor, with greater numbers of Listeria transferring from bologna to stainless steel (mean EOT = 0.49) than from bologna to polyethylene (mean EOT = 0.28) (P < 0.01). Stainless steel with three different surface roughness (Ra) values Listeria (P > 0.05). Our results showed that when evaluating the transfer of Listeria, the use of EOTs rather than the absolute transfer values is essential to allow comparisons of transfer conditions or comparisons between research groups.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, 100 Holdsworth Way, Chenoweth Laboratory, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA 2: Department of Plant, Soil, and Insect Sciences, University of Massachusetts, 201 Natural Resources Road, Bowditch Hall, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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