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Occurrence of Bacillus cereus Spores with a Damaged Exosporium: Consequences on the Spore Adhesion on Surfaces of Food Processing Lines

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This study was designed to evaluate the occurrence of Bacillus cereus spores with a damaged exosporium and the consequences of such damages on spore adhesion. The analysis of nine strains sporulated under optimal conditions (Spo8-agar, 30°C) revealed that damaged exosporia were systematically found in one strain (B. cereus D17) and occasionally in two others (B. cereus ATCC 14579T and B. cereus D6). The prevalence of spores with damaged exosporia increased when sporulation occurred under less favorable conditions (Spo8-broth or high temperature); for example, more than 50% of the B. cereus ATCC 14579T spores were damaged when sporulation occurred at 40°C on Spo8-agar or at 30°C in Spo8-broth. Furthermore, when subjected to shear stresses by circulation of spore suspensions through a peristaltic pump, the exosporium of a significant amount of spores became partially or totally shorn off (for example, 40% of the B. cereus ATCC 14579T spores). The ability of damaged spores to adhere to inert surfaces and to resist cleaning under shear stress was significantly affected when compared with intact spores, resulting in a decreased number of adhering spores (P ≤ 0.004) and enhanced resistance to cleaning (P ≤ 0.008). This study provides evidence that, under various conditions, the exosporium of B. cereus spores can be partly or wholly damaged, thereby affecting the ability of spores to contaminate the surfaces of food processing lines. The presence of spores devoid of exosporium will be of importance in determining the risk associated with B. cereus spores adherent to food processing line surfaces.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: INRA-UR638, 369 rue Jules Guesde, BP 20039, F-59651 Villeneuve d'Ascq Cedex, France;, Tel: +33 (0)3-20-43-54-04, Fax: +33 (0)3-20-43-54-26, Email: 2: INRA-UR638, 369 rue Jules Guesde, BP 20039, F-59651 Villeneuve d'Ascq Cedex, France 3: INSERM-LPC, U-800, F-59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq Cedex, France; Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire, Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille 1, F-59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq Cedex, France

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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