Research – Effect of Electrolyzed Water on the Disinfection of Bacillus cereus Biofilms: The Mechanism of Enhanced Resistance of Sessile Cells in the Biofilm Matrix

Journal of Food Protection

This study examined the disinfection efficacy and mechanism of electrolyzed water (EW) on Bacillus cereus biofilms. B. cereus strains, ATCC 14579 and Korean Collection for Type Cultures (KCTC) 13153 biofilms, were formed on stainless steel (SS) and plastic slide (PS) coupons. Mature biofilms were treated with slightly acidic EW (SAEW), acidic EW (AEW), and basic EW (BEW). SAEW (available chlorine concentration, 25 ± 1.31 mg L−1; pH 5.71 ± 0.16; and oxidation reduction potential, 818 to 855 mV) reduced ATCC 14579 biofilms on plastic slides to below the detection limit within 30 s. However, biofilms on SS coupons showed a higher resistance to the SAEW treatment. When the disinfection activities of three types of EW on biofilms were compared, AEW showed a higher bactericidal activity, followed by SAEW and BEW. In contrast, BEW showed a significantly (P < 0.05) higher biofilm dispersal activity than AEW and SAEW. SAEW disinfection of the B. cereus biofilms was due to the disruption of the B. cereus plasma membrane. The higher resistance of biofilms formed on the SS coupon might be due to the higher number of attached cells and extracellular polymeric substances formation that reacts with the active chlorine ions, such as hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion of SAEW, which decreased the disinfection efficacy of SAEW. This study showed that the EW treatment effectively disinfected B. cereus biofilms, providing insight into the potential use of EW in the food processing industry to control the biofilm formation of B. cereus.


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