Research – Enzymatic Inactivation of Pathogenic and Nonpathogenic Bacteria in Biofilms in Combination with Chlorine

Journal of Food Protection

This study investigated the effects of enzyme application on biofilms of bacterial isolates from a cafeteria kitchen and foodborne pathogens and the susceptibility of Salmonella biofilms to proteinase K combined with chlorine treatment. For four isolates from a cafeteria kitchen (Acinetobacter, Enterobacter, and Kocuria) and six strains of foodborne pathogens (Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus aureus, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus), the inhibitory effect of enzymes on biofilm formation at 25°C for 24 h or the degradative efficacy of enzymes on 24-h mature biofilm at 37°C for 1 h in tryptic soy broth (TSB) was examined in a polystyrene microtiter plate. The effect of enzymes was also evaluated on a subset of these strains in 20 times diluted TSB (1/20 TSB) at 25°C. The working concentrations of five enzymes were 1 U/100 μL for α-amylase, amyloglucosidase, cellulase, and DNase and 1 milli-Anson unit/100 μL for proteinase K. In addition, 24-h mature SalmonellaTyphimurium biofilm on a stainless steel coupon was treated with proteinase K for 1 h at 25°C followed by 20 ppm of chlorine for 1 min at 25°C. The results showed that certain enzymes inhibited biofilm formation by the kitchen-originated bacteria; however, the enzymatic effect was diminished on the mature biofilms. Biofilm formation of V. parahaemolyticus was suppressed by all tested enzymes, whereas the mature biofilm was degraded by α-amylase, DNase I, and proteinase K. Proteinase K was effective in controlling Salmonella biofilms, whereas a strain-dependent variation was observed in S. aureusbiofilms. In 1/20 TSB, Enterobacter cancerogenus and Kocuria varians were more susceptible to certain enzymes during biofilm formation than those in TSB, whereas the enzymatic effect was much decreased on 24-h mature biofilms, regardless of nutrient conditions. Furthermore, synergistic inactivation of Salmonella Typhimurium in biofilms was observed in the combined treatment of proteinase K followed by chlorine. Live/Dead assays also revealed a decrease in density and loss of membrane integrity in Salmonella Typhimurium biofilms exposed to the combined treatment. Therefore, certain enzymes can control biofilms of isolates residing in a cafeteria kitchen and foodborne pathogens. This study demonstrates the potential of enzymes for the sanitation of food processing environments and of proteinase K combined with chlorine to control Salmonella biofilms on food contact surfaces.

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