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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Characterization and Interventions for Foodborne Pathogens » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #344057

Research Project: Molecular Characterization of Foodborne Pathogen Responses to Stress

Location: Characterization and Interventions for Foodborne Pathogens

Title: Quaternary ammonium compounds with multiple cationic moieties (multiQACs) provide antimicrobial activity against Campylobacter jejuni

item Gunther, Nereus - Jack
item Abdulwakeel, Aisha
item Reichenberger, Erin
item AL-KHALIFA, SALEH - Villanova University
item MINBIOLE, KEVIN - Villanova University

Submitted to: Food Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/30/2018
Publication Date: 7/2/2018
Citation: Gunther, N.W., Abdul Wakeel, A.Y., Reichenberger, E.R., Al-Khalifa, S., Minbiole, K.P. 2018. Quaternary ammonium compounds with multiple cationic moieties (multiQACs) provide antimicrobial activity against Campylobacter jejuni. Food Control.

Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter jejuni causes the largest number of bacterial food poisoning cases annually. A significant pathway for the infection of humans with this pathogen is by cross contamination of foods in the kitchen by way of food preparation surfaces. Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are common sanitizers used in household cleaning products for decades. These compounds are very successful in eliminating harmful bacteria including Campylobacter jejuni from surfaces. Unfortunately, bacteria have been developing resistance to the QACs, which will result in the compounds being less successful at removing the bacteria from food preparation surfaces. Our collaborators have developed new classes of QACs by changing the structure of the QACs to increase the overall negative charge of the new compounds. We tested these new QAC classes to determine their effectiveness against a collection of Campylobacter jejuni strains. The results of our work identified a sub-class of these new QACs that were most successful at inactivating Campylobacter jejuni. This group of QACs, designated bis-cationic QACs, were more successful at reducing Campylobacter jejuni numbers than the commercial QACs currently available to consumers. The results of this investigation has allowed refinement of bis-cationic QACs for the purpose of creating more effective sanitizing agents against Campylobacter, which will reduce the numbers of human disease resulting from this pathogen.

Technical Abstract: Eight recently developed quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) possessing multiple cationic moieties (multiQACs) were tested against Campylobacter jejuni strains to determine their antimicrobial potential. Of the eight multiQACs investigated, four biscationic compounds demonstrated reductions in C. jejuni numbers comparable or superior to commercial QACs. The remaining multiQACs, containing three or four cations, did not produce reductions in bacterial numbers comparable to commercial QACs. At the lowest compound concentration (0.02 mM) and exposure time (one minute) the most effective multiQAC (PQ-12,12) on average killed 59% of Campylobacter cells while the best commercial compound (benzalkonium chloride, BAC) killed 14% of the cells. At a concentration of 0.1 mM with a one minute exposure, two biscationic multiQACs [PQ-12,12 and 12(3)0(3)12] reduced mean Campylobacter counts greater than two logs while BAC reduced the mean counts by roughly a single log. The biscationic multiQACs demonstrate antimicrobial potential against C. jejuni, superior to commercially available QACs.