Submitted to: Southern Region of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 27, 2010
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Biofilms are communities of microorganisms held together by substances such as polysaccharides which form on surfaces. These communities do not need to be on living tissue but form on any available surface such as rocks in a stream, interior of pipes and on teeth. On surfaces, including fruit, these communities become a problem because they are resistant to many sanitation protocols as well as antibiotics and even corrosive chemicals. Biofilm communities are all different and can be made up of bacteria, fungi, algae and even protozoans depending on where the biofilm forms. The many layers of these communities protect the innermost cells which survive to carry on growth and extend the film even though some of the outer cell layers are destroyed by sanitizers or antibiotics. This is why counts on fruit just sanitized may be lower on day zero than when assessed a week later. A true test of a successful sanitizing protocol is one in which the fruit maintain low colony counts throughout their time in storage.