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Exposure of Campylobacter jejuni to 6°C: Effects on Heat Resistance and Electron Transport Activity

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Abstract:

Human infection with Campylobacter jejuni is frequently associated with the consumption of foods, especially chicken meat, which have been exposed to a range of temperatures during processing, storage, and cooking. Despite the public health importance of C. jejuni, little is known about the effects of cold exposure (refrigeration) on the subsequent ability of this pathogen to survive heat challenge. This work examined the effect of rapid exposure to 6°C for 24 h on the heat resistance at 52°C of 19 C. jejuni strains originally isolated from various sources. The resulting death curves were analyzed with the Weibull model. Unlike cold-exposed cells of Escherichia coli and Salmonella, which have been reported to show significant increased sensitivity to heat, such exposure had only a marginal effect on heat resistance of the C. jejuni strains in this study. A possible explanation for this effect is that rapid chilling renders C. jejuni cells unable to adapt to reduced temperatures in an active manner. This hypothesis is supported by the observation that exposure to 6°C for 24 h resulted in a significant and marked reduction in electron transport system activity when compared with controls at 37°C.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Zoonotic Infections Group, Division of Veterinary Pathology, Infection and Immunity, School of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Bristol BS49 5DU, UK 2: Zoonotic Infections Group, Division of Veterinary Pathology, Infection and Immunity, School of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Bristol BS49 5DU, UK; National Center for Zoonosis Research, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

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