Location: Meat Safety & Quality ResearchTitle: Biofilms and meat safety: A mini-review
Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/20/2018
Publication Date: 1/2/2019
Citation: Wang, R. 2019. Biofilms and meat safety: A mini-review. Journal of Food Protection. 82(1):120-127. https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-18-311.
Interpretive Summary: Biofilms are surface-attached bacterial communities that potentially have a tremendous impact on public health and food safety. In the meat industry, biofilms remain a serious concern because many foodborne pathogens can form biofilms in areas at meat plants that are difficult to sanitize properly, and bacteria in biofilms are more tolerant to sanitization than individual bacteria. Furthermore, nearly all biofilms in nature consist of multiple species of bacteria and the complex interactions within the biofilm community significantly influence the ability of the biofilm to tolerate sanitization. This review focuses on the effect of biofilm formation with multiple foodborne pathogens on sanitizer tolerance, the factors that affect biofilm cell transfer from contact surfaces to meat products, as well as recent studies suggesting the potential involvement of biofilms in meat contamination events. Overall, this review summarizes available knowledge regarding the potential impact of bacterial biofilms on meat safety to help the meat industry enhance strategies to prevent contamination and improve meat safety.
Technical Abstract: Biofilms are surface-attached microbial communities with distinct properties, which have a tremendous impact on public health and food safety. In the meat industry, biofilms remain a serious concern because many foodborne pathogens can form biofilms in areas at meat plants that are difficult to sanitize properly, and biofilm cells are more tolerant to sanitization than their planktonic counterparts. Furthermore, nearly all biofilms in commercial environments consist of multiple species of microorganisms, and the complex interactions within the community significantly influence the architecture, activity, and sanitizer tolerance of the biofilm society. This review focuses on the effect of microbial coexistence on mixed biofilm formation with foodborne pathogens of major concern in the fresh meat industry and their resultant sanitizer tolerance. The factors that would affect biofilm cell transfer from contact surfaces to meat products, one of the most common transmission routes that could lead to product contamination, are discussed as well. Available results from recent studies relevant to the meat industry, implying the potential role of bacterial persistence and biofilm formation in meat contamination, are reviewed in response to the pressing need to understand the mechanisms that cause ‘‘high event period’’ contamination at commercial meat processing plants. A better understanding of these events would help the industry to enhance strategies to prevent contamination and improve meat safety.