The growth and resistance to sodium hypochlorite of Listeria monocytogenes in a steady-state multispecies biofilm

Authors


D.E. Norwood, Department of Food Science (Food Microbiology), The Queens University of Belfast, Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, UK (e-mail: d.norwood@qub.ac.uk).

Abstract

A constant-depth film fermenter (CDFF) was used to culture a steady-state multispecies biofilm consisting of one strain each of Listeria monocytogenes, Pseudomonas fragi and Staphylococcus xylosus. These bacteria were initially grown together in a conventional chemostat to achieve a steady state before being inoculated into the CDFF over an 18-h period. A dilute tryptone soya broth (TSB) medium was supplied to the CDFF and the biofilm allowed to develop over a 28-d period. This mature biofilm was then subjected to increasing levels of sodium hypochlorite solution to measure any antimicrobial effect. The three organisms were seen to reach a steady state after 6 d in the chemostat before being transferred to the CDFF where the mature multispecies biofilm reached steady state at 17 d. Listeria monocytogenes in both planktonic and biofilm growth stabilized at 1·8 and 1·5%, respectively, of the total plate counts, while Ps. fragi and Staph. xylosus were the predominant organisms in the biofilm at 59% and 39·5%, respectively, of the total microbial population. Steady-state biofilms in the CDFF were exposed to increasing strengths of sodium hypochlorite; 200, 500 and 1000 p.p.m. free chlorine, but a substantial two-log cycle drop in bacterial numbers was only achieved at 1000 p.p.m. free chlorine. In planktonic culture all three organisms were completely eliminated when exposed to 10 p.p.m. free chlorine for a 30-s period.

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