Research – Persistence of Listeria monocytogenes ST5 in Ready-to-Eat Food Processing Environment

MDPI

Most human listeriosis is foodborne, and ready-to-eat (RET) foods contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes during processing are found to be common vehicles. In this study, a total of four L. monocytogens STs (ST5, ST121, ST120, and ST2) have been identified in two RTE food plants from 2019 to 2020 in Shanghai, China. The L. monocytogenes ST5 was predominant in one RTE food processing plant, and it persists in the RTE meat processing plant with continued clone transmission. The genetic features of the four STs isolates were different. ST5 and ST121 had the three genes clpLmdrL, and lde; however, ST120 and ST2 had two genes except for clpL. SSI-1was present in ST5, ST121, and ST120. Additionally, SSI-2 was present only in the ST121 isolates. ST120 had all six biofilm-forming associated genes (actAprfAlmo0673recOlmo2504 and luxS). The ST2 isolate had only three biofilm-forming associated genes, which were prfAlmo0673, and recO. The four ST isolates had different biofilm formation abilities at different stages. The biofilm formation ability of ST120 was significantly higher when grown for one day. However, the biofilm formation ability of ST120 reduced significantly after growing for four days. In contrast, the biofilm formation ability of ST5 and ST121 increased significantly. These results suggested that ST5 and ST121 had stronger ability to adapt to stressful environments. Biofilms formed by all four STs grown over four days can be sanitized entirely by a disinfectant concentration of 500 mg/L. Additionally, only ST5 and ST121 biofilm cells survived in sub-lethal concentrations of chlorine-containing disinfectant. These results suggested that ST5 and ST121 were more resistant to chlorine-containing disinfectants. These results indicated that the biofilm formation ability of L. monocytogenes isolates changed at different stages. Additionally, the persistence in food processing environments might be verified by the biofilm formation, stress resistance, etc. Alternatively, these results underlined that disinfectants should be used at lethal concentrations. More attention should be paid to ST5 and ST121, and stronger surveillance should be taken to prevent and control the clonal spread of L. monocytogenes isolates in food processing plants in Shanghai. View Full-Text

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