Biofilm-forming bacteria resident to food processing facilities are a food safety concern due to the potential of biofilms to harbor foodborne bacterial pathogens. When cultured together, Ralstonia insidiosa, a strong biofilm former frequently isolated from produce processing environments, has been shown to promote the incorporation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 into dual-species biofilms. In this study, interactions between E. coli O157:H7 and R. insidiosa were examined under different incubating conditions. Under static culture conditions, the incorporation of E. coli O157:H7 into biofilms with R. insidiosa was not significantly affected by either low incubating temperature (10°C) or by limited nutrient availability. Greater enhancement of E. coli O157:H7 incorporation in dual-species biofilms was observed by using a continuous culture system with limited nutrient availability. Under the continuous culture conditions used in this study, E coli O157:H7 cells showed a strong tendency of colocalizing with R. insidiosa on a glass surface at the early stage of biofilm formation. As the biofilms matured, E coli O157:H7 cells were mostly found at the bottom layer of the dual-species biofilms, suggesting an effective protection by R. insidiosa in the mature biofilms.

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