ABSTRACT

Following sanitation interventions in food processing facilities, sublethally injured bacterial cells can remain on food contact surfaces. We investigated whether injured Salmonella Typhimurium cells can attach onto abiotic surfaces, which is the initial stage for further biofilm development. We utilized heat, UV, hydrogen peroxide, and lactic acid treatments, which are widely utilized by the food industry. Our results showed that heat, UV, and hydrogen peroxide did not effectively change populations of attached Salmonella Typhimurium. Cells treated with hydrogen peroxide had a slightly higher tendency to adhere to abiotic surfaces, although there was no significant difference between the populations of control and hydrogen peroxide–treated cells. However, lactic acid effectively reduced the number of Salmonella Typhimurium cells attached to stainless steel. We also compared physicochemical changes of Salmonella Typhimurium after application of lactic acid and used hydrogen peroxide as a positive control because only lactic acid showed a decreased tendency for attachment and hydrogen peroxide induced slightly higher numbers of attached bacteria cells. Extracellular polymeric substance produced by Salmonella Typhimurium was not detected in any treatment. Significant differences in hydrophobicity were not observed. Surface charges of cell membranes did not show relevant correlation with numbers of attached cells, whereas autoaggregation showed a positive correlation with attachment to stainless steel. Our results highlight that when lactic acid is applied in a food processing facility, it can effectively interfere with adhesion of injured Salmonella Typhimurium cells onto food contact surfaces.

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