Research -Morphological Change and Decreasing Transfer Rate of Biofilm-Featured Listeria monocytogenes EGDe

Food Protection Journal


Listeria monocytogenes, a lethal foodborne pathogen, has the ability to resist the hostile food processing environment and thus frequently contaminates ready-to-eat foods during processing. It is commonly accepted that the tendency of L. monocytogenes‘ to generate biofilms on various surfaces enhances its resistance to the harshness of the food processing environment. However, the role of biofilm formation in the transferability of L. monocytogenes EGDe remains controversial. We examined the growth of Listeria biofilms on stainless steel surfaces and their effect on the transferability of L. monocytogenes EGDe. The experiments were a factorial 2 × 2 design with at least three biological replicates. Through scanning electron microscopy, a mature biofilm with intensive aggregates of cells was observed on the surface of stainless steel after 3 or 5 days of incubation, depending on the initial level of inoculation. During biofilm development, L. monocytogenes EGDe carried out binary fission vigorously before a mature biofilm was formed and subsequently changed its cellular morphology from rod shaped to sphere shaped. Furthermore, static biofilm, which was formed after 3 days of incubation at 25°C, significantly inhibited the transfer rate of L. monocytogenes EGDe from stainless steel blades to 15 bologna slices. During 7 days of storage at 4°C, however, bacterial growth rate was not significantly impacted by whether bacteria were transferred from biofilm and the initial concentrations of transferred bacteria on the slice. In conclusion, this study is the first to report a distinct change in morphology of L. monocytogenes EGDe at the late stage of biofilm formation. More importantly, once food is contaminated by L. monocytogenes EGDe, contamination proceeds independently of biofilm development and the initial level of contamination when food is stored at 4°C, even if contamination with L. monocytogenes EGDe was initially undetectable before storage.


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