Biofilm formation and desiccation survival of Listeria monocytogenes with microbiota on mushroom processing surfaces and the effect of cleaning and disinfection

Frank B. Lake, Jingjie Chen, Leo S. van Overbeek, Johan J.P. Baars, Tjakko Abee, Heidy M.W. den Besten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Microbial multispecies communities consisting of background microbiota and Listeria monocytogenes could be established on materials used in food processing environments. The presence, abundance and diversity of the strains within these microbial multispecies communities may be affected by mutual interactions and differences in resistance towards regular cleaning and disinfection (C&D) procedures. Therefore, this study aimed to characterize the growth and diversity of a L. monocytogenes strain cocktail (n = 6) during biofilm formation on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and stainless steel (SS) without and with the presence of a diverse set of background microbiota (n = 18). L. monocytogenes and background microbiota strains were isolated from mushroom processing environments and experiments were conducted in simulated mushroom processing environmental conditions using mushroom extract as growth medium and ambient temperature (20 °C) as culturing temperature. The L. monocytogenes strains applied during monospecies biofilm incubation formed biofilms on both PVC and SS coupons, and four cycles of C&D treatment were applied with a chlorinated alkaline cleaning agent and a disinfection agent based on peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide. After each C&D treatment, the coupons were re-incubated for two days during an incubation period for 8 days in total, and C&D resulted in effective removal of biofilms from SS (reduction of 4.5 log CFU/cm2 or less, resulting in counts below detection limit of 1.5 log CFU/cm2 after every C&D treatment), while C&D treatments on biofilms formed on PVC resulted in limited reductions (reductions between 1.2 and 2.4 log CFU/cm2, which equals a reduction of 93.7 % and 99.6 %, respectively). Incubation of the L. monocytogenes strains with the microbiota during multispecies biofilm incubation led to the establishment of L. monocytogenes in the biofilm after 48 h incubation with corresponding high L. monocytogenes strain diversity in the multispecies biofilm on SS and PVC. C&D treatments removed L. monocytogenes from multispecies biofilm communities on SS (reduction of 3.5 log CFU/cm2 or less, resulting in counts below detection limit of 1.5 log CFU/cm2 after every C&D treatment), with varying dominance of microbiota species during different C&D cycles. However, C&D treatments of multispecies biofilm on PVC resulted in lower reductions of L. monocytogenes (between 0.2 and 2.4 log CFU/cm2) compared to single species biofilm, and subsequent regrowth of L. monocytogenes and stable dominance of Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas. In addition, planktonic cultures of L. monocytogenes were deposited and desiccated on dry surfaces without and with the presence of planktonic background microbiota cultures. The observed decline of desiccated cell counts over time was faster on SS compared to PVC. However, the application of C&D resulted in counts below the detection limit of 1.7 log CFU/coupon on both surfaces (reduction of 5.9 log CFU/coupon or less). This study shows that L. monocytogenes is able to form single and multispecies biofilms on PVC with high strain diversity following C&D treatments. This highlights the need to apply more stringent C&D regime treatments for especially PVC and similar surfaces to efficiently remove biofilm cells from food processing surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110509
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Volume411
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Biofilm
  • Desiccation
  • Diversity
  • Inactivation
  • Mushroom processing environment
  • Persistence
  • Polyvinyl chloride
  • Sanitation
  • Stainless steel

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