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Persistence of Salmonella enterica during dehydration and subsequent cold storage

Gruzdev, Nadia, Pinto, Riky, Sela (Saldinger), Shlomo
Food microbiology 2012 v.32 no.2 pp. 415-422
Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium, adaptation, chloramphenicol, cold storage, environmental factors, environmental impact, food chain, models, pH, pathogens, polystyrenes, protein synthesis, serotypes, sodium chloride, sucrose, temperature, trehalose, viability
Despite the fact that Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium SL 1344 has served as a model pathogen in many studies, information regarding its desiccation response is still scarce. In this study, we investigated environmental conditions that affect Salmonella survival following dehydration and subsequent cold storage, using a 96-well polystyrene plate model. The SL 1344 strain exhibited high survival compared with other Typhimurium isolates and S. enterica serotypes. Further characterization of desiccation tolerance in this strain revealed that temperature, stationary-phase of growth, solid medium, and the presence of increasing NaCl concentrations (0.5–5.0%) in the growth medium enhanced desiccation tolerance. Dehydration at basic pHs (8–10), or in trehalose, sucrose, but not in glycine-betaine, improved bacterial persistence. Dehydrated Salmonella survived over 100 weeks at 4 °C with a ∼5-log reduction in numbers. However, viability staining revealed only a ∼50% reduction in viable cells, suggesting bacterial transition into a viable-but-not-cultivable state (VBNC). Addition of chloramphenicol reduced bacterial survival implying that adaptation to desiccation stress requires de-novo protein synthesis. Consistent with this finding, shortening the dehydration time resulted in lower survival. This study emphasizes the impact of environmental conditions on the fate of dried Salmonella in the food chain and highlights the potential transition of the pathogen to the VBNC state.