Research – Controlling Listeria monocytogenes Growth and Biofilm Formation using Flavonoids

Journal of Food Protection

The aim of the present study was to investigate the ability of natural plant-derivate (flavonoid compounds) products to reduce and/or inhibit the biofilm-forming ability of Listeria monocytogenes. A collection of 500 synthetic and natural flavonoids were tested on strains of L. monocytogenes for their antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity. L. monocytogenes biofilm inhibition by flavonoid compounds was tested on i) stainless steel coupons using crystal violet staining and ii) glass slides using confocal laser scanning microscopic (CLSM) imaging. The flavonoids were tested against a L. monocytogenes cocktail of 5 strains at a concentration of 100 µM to determine their effect on planktonic growth. A total of 17 flavonoids were chosen for further study due to their ability to significantly reduce the growth of L. monocytogenes in BHI broth, while 2 flavonoids were chosen because they actually increased growth. A lower concentration of flavonoid compounds (50 µM) was selected to investigate their effects on L. monocytogenes biofilm formation using i) stainless steel coupons to quantify biomass and ii) glass coupons to observe the biofilm architecture. The 19 flavonoids showed various levels of L. monocytogenes growth inhibition, ranging from 2% to 100%, as compared to the respective positive and negative controls on stainless steel, after 48 h of incubation at 22 o C. In addition, in comparison to the control, most of the 19 flavonoids significantly (p ≤ 0.05) inhibited biofilm formation, with at least one of the L. monocytogenes strains or at one of the tested temperatures. In fact, when grown in BHI broth with 50 µM of the 19 selected flavonoid compounds for 48 h at 22 o C, there were visible reductions in L. monocytogenes biofilm formation on the glass coupons. Overall, we found multiple flavonoid compounds to be promising anti-biofilm and antimicrobial agents against L. monocytogenes .

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