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Adhesion to and Viability of Listeria monocytogenes on Food Contact Surfaces

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Listeria monocytogenes is an important pathogen responsible for major outbreaks associated with food products. Adhesion to surfaces leads to significant modifications in cell physiology. The aim of this work was to determine the adhesion ability of 10 isolates of L. monocytogenes to eight materials commonly used in kitchens and to evaluate the viability of the adhered cells. The materials assayed were stainless steel 304, marble, granite, glass, polypropylene from a bowl and from a cutting board, and two kinds of silestone. All L. monocytogenes strains attached to all surfaces, although to different extents. L. monocytogenes adhered most tightly to granite and marble, followed by stainless steel 304, glass, silestones, and finally polypropylene surfaces. Surfaces at the threshold between hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity, with high electron acceptor capability and a regular pattern of roughness, were more prone to attachment. Polypropylene surfaces displayed the highest percentage of viable bacteria (nearly 100%), whereas marble and granite had a lower percentage of cultivable cells, 69.5 and 78.7%, respectively. The lowest percentage of culturable bacteria was found on white silestone (18.5%). These results indicate that there are differences in adhered cell viability on different materials. Cell viability assays are important to better understand the cross-contamination process because only adhered bacteria that remain viable are responsible for postprocess contamination.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centre of Biological Engineering, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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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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