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Effect of Acid Stress, Antibiotic Resistance, and Heat Shock on the Resistance of Listeria monocytogenes to UV Light When Suspended in Distilled Water and Fresh Brine

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Exposure to sublethal processing treatments can stimulate bacterial stress responses. The purpose of this research was to determine whether adaptation to common food processing stresses encountered during the preparation of ready-to-eat foods affects the dose of UV light required to significantly reduce Listeria monocytogenes populations in sterile distilled water and a 9% NaCl solution, using uridine as a chemical actinometer. L. monocytogenes strains N1-227 (from hot dog batter), N3-031 (from turkey franks), and R2-499 (from ready-to-eat meat) were acid stressed for 3 h at 35°C in Trypticase soy broth with yeast extract acidified to pH 5.0, heat shocked for 1 h at 48°C in brain heart infusion broth (BHIB), and selected for sulfanilamide resistance (512 μg/ml). These strains were then mixed in equal proportions and suspended in water and 9% NaCl solution, each containing 10−4 M uridine. Samples were exposed to UV light (253.7 nm) for 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 min. Inactivation was evaluated by surface plating onto modified Oxford agar and Trypticase soy agar with yeast extract and by enrichment in BHIB followed by incubation at 37°C for 24 h. The absorbance of each sample was measured before and after irradiation to calculate the dose of UV light. There were no significant differences between population estimates based on medium or suspension solution. There were no population differences between acid-stressed and antibiotic-resistant or unstressed and heat-shocked L. monocytogenes strains. However, acid-stressed and antibiotic-resistant strains were significantly more resistant to UV light than were unstressed and heat-shocked strains (P ≤ 0.05).

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24060, USA 2: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24060, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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