Behavior of Listeria monocytogenes Biofilms in a Simulated Food Processing (SFP) Ecosystem

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Title: Behavior of Listeria monocytogenes Biofilms in a Simulated Food Processing (SFP) Ecosystem
Author: Pan, Youwen
Advisors: Fred Breidt, Committee Chair
Sophia Kathariou, Committee Member
Hosni Hassan, Committee Member
Abstract: The purpose of the research has been to develop an experimental biofilm ecocystem for the characterization of Listeria monocytogenes biofilms in a simulated food processing (SFP) environment. Individual strains of L. monocytogenes were initially surveyed for their ability to attach to surfaces and form biofilms under a variety of conditions. Five strains of L. monocytogenes were then screened for optimal cell attachment and biofilm formation. Significant differences in surface attachment and biofilm formation were observed among the different strains of L. monocytogenes. The biofilms of the five-strain mixture of L. monocytogenes were formed on surfaces that are commonly used in food processing facilities, such as stainless steel and Teflon®. The biofilms were subjected to the SFP system in sequential 24-h daily cycles. Conditions of the SFP system included: starvation, washing, rinsing, and sanitation that routinely occur in a food processing plant. Cell survival in biofilms was determined during the time course of the experiment. The susceptibility of the cells in biofilms and detached cells to different sanitizers was measured. The morphology of the cells in biofilms and the planktonic cells detached from biofilms was observed. The study indicated that the progressive resistance developed by L. monocytogenes biofilms to a sanitizer could protect the cells in biofilms from this and other sanitizing agents. The progressive resistance and cross protection was observed in biofilms, but not in detached cells. These findings could provide a basis for further research on the mechanism of progressive resistance to stresses by L. monocytogenes in biofilms under food processing conditions. The data may help to establish effective sanitation programs for food processing and related industries.
Date: 2006-08-25
Degree: MS
Discipline: Food Science

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