Listeria monocytogenes and Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) are important foodborne bacterial pathogens that can form biofilms on equipment surfaces at food processing facilities. Pathogens in biofilms are resistant to conventional antimicrobials and require higher antimicrobial concentrations to be inactivated. In this study, the efficacy of a synthetic innate defense regulator peptide 1018 (peptide 1018) for inactivating L. monocytogenes and STEC (O26, O111, O145, O157) biofilms on stainless steel and polycarbonate surfaces was investigated. Stainless steel and polycarbonate coupons (12 mm in diameter) were used in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention biofilm reactor containing 400 mL of 10% tryptic soy broth (TSB) that had been inoculated with an individual strain of L. monocytogenes or STEC to obtain 6 log CFU/mL populations. The reactor was set with a constant flow rate at 50 mL/h of 10% TSB for 48 h. After 48 h, coupons were treated with peptide 1018 at 0, 10, 20, or 50 μg/mL in phosphate buffer saline (PBS) for 24 h. Surviving bacterial populations were determined by scraping off the coupons and spiral plating on selective media. Significantly higher levels of pathogens in biofilms formed by certain bacterial strains, including L. monocytogenes F6854, E. coli O157:H7 RM4407 and NADC5713, and non-O157 E. coli NADC3629, were recovered on polycarbonate surfaces than on stainless steel. Antibiofilm efficacy of peptide 1018 against pathogens was concentration-dependent and varied with the type of pathogen and material surfaces. Peptide 1018 at 50 μg/mL significantly inactivated all tested bacterial biofilms on both surfaces compared with the PBS control (P < 0.05). L. monocytogenes was the bacterium most sensitive to peptide 1018; on stainless steel surfaces treated with 50 μg/mL peptide 1018, there was a 3.7- to 4.6-log CFU/cm2 reduction in Listeria populations compared with a 1.0- to 3.5-log CFU/cm2 reduction of STEC. Results suggest that peptide 1018 may be used to inactivate L. monocytogenes and STEC biofilms on equipment surfaces.

  • Bacteria attach at higher levels on polycarbonate surfaces than on stainless steel.

  • L. monocytogenes is more sensitive than STEC to peptide 1018.

  • Peptide 1018 can be used to inactivate biofilms on equipment surfaces.

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