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Title: Resistance of Listeria monocytogenes biofilms to sanitizing agents

item AZIZOGLU, REHA - North Carolina State University
item DUTTA, VIKRANT - Envirologix
item KATHARIOU, SOPHIA - North Carolina State University
item Breidt, Frederick

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2015
Publication Date: 11/1/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Azizoglu, R., Dutta, V., Kathariou, S., Breidt, F. 2015. Resistance of Listeria monocytogenes biofilms to sanitizing agents. Book Chapter. In: A. L. Pometto III and Ali Demirci (ed). Biofilms in the Food Environment. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.

Interpretive Summary: The scientific literature on the ability of disease causing bacteria associated with processed, ready to eat foods to form colonies tightly associated with food and equipment surfaces (biofilms) was reviewed. This review is timely because new methods for removing the biofilms from food and equipment surfaces have been recently reported. Also, there are new technologies that can now be employed in the study of bacterial survival in biofilms, including high throughput DNA sequencing, and related genetic tools. An analysis of the data from many disparate studies shows that there is a need for new directions in research that focus on the mechanics of cell survival in biofilms. Particularly important will be studies of the extracellular materials that protect cells from sanitizing agents and that hold cells tightly to surfaces.

Technical Abstract: Listeria monocytogenes is notorious for its capacity to colonize the environment and equipment of food processing facilities and to persist in the processing plant ecosystem, sometimes for decades. Such persistence is mediated by multiple attributes of L. monocytogenes, including the pathogen’s capacity to form biofilms, replicate in the cold, tolerate disinfectants and resist attack by phage. Biofilm forming potential is of pivotal importance: not only are bacteria in the sessile biofilm community more difficult to physically remove (e.g. by scrubbing or rinsing) than loosely adherent cells, but in addition existence in a biofilm impacts adaptive attributes, e.g. by resulting in enhanced tolerance towards various stresses. Indeed, extensive evidence indicates that bacteria in biofilms from diverse ecosystems exhibit enhanced tolerance to disinfectant and other antimicrobial agents, including antibiotics. Here we will direct attention on certain key trends and new findings, and on their potential implications for the focus of this chapter, i.e. resistance of biofilm-associated L. monocytogenes to disinfectants and other agents or treatments employed for cleaning and sanitation in food processing ecosystems.