Research – Bioprotective Lactic Acid Bacteria and Lactic Acid as a Sustainable Strategy to Combat Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Meat

MDPI

Abstract

Human infection by Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) constitutes a serious threat to public health and a major concern for the meat industry. Presently, consumers require safer/healthier foods with minimal chemical additives, highlighting the need for sustainable solutions to limit and prevent risks. This work evaluated the ability of two antagonistic lactic acid bacteria (LAB) strains, Lactiplantibacillus plantarum CRL681 and Enterococcus mundtii CRL35, and their combination in order to inhibit EHEC in beef (ground and vacuum sealed meat discs) at 8 °C during 72 h. The effect of lower lactic acid (LA) concentrations was evaluated. Meat color was studied along with how LAB strains interfere with the adhesion of Escherichia coli to meat. The results indicated a bacteriostatic effect on EHEC cells when mixed LAB strains were inoculated. However, a bactericidal action due to a synergism between 0.6% LA and LAB occurred, producing undetectable pathogenic cells at 72 h. Color parameters (a*, b* and L*) did not vary in bioprotected meat discs, but they were significantly modified in ground meat after 24 h. In addition, LAB strains hindered EHEC adhesion to meat. The use of both LAB strains plus 0.6% LA, represents a novel, effective and ecofriendly strategy to inactivate EHEC in meat.

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