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Listeria Monocytogenes Persistence in Ready-to-Eat Sausages and in Processing Plants

Mureddu, Anna, Mazza, Roberta, Fois, Federica, Meloni, Domenico, Bacciu, Roberto, Piras, Francesca, Mazzette, Rina
Italian journal of food safety 2014 v.3 no.1
Listeria monocytogenes, acidification, bacterial contamination, biofilm, cross contamination, disinfectants, fermented meat, food contamination, genes, genetic markers, ground meat, meat processing plants, microbial detection, pathogen survival, polymerase chain reaction, ready-to-eat foods, ripening, sausages, serotypes, virulence, Italy, Sardinia
Listeria monocytogenes is of major concern in the fermented meat products and is able to persist in their processing environments. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the virulence profile and the persistence capacity of L. monocytogenes strains isolated in Sardinian fermented sausages processing plants. Food (ground meat, sausages at the end of acidification and ripening stage) and environmental samples (a total of n. 385), collected from 4 meat processing plants located in Sardinia (Italy), were examined to detect L. monocytogenes presence. All the L. monocytogenes isolates were identified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method. A subset of strains was also characterised by multiplex PCR-based serogrouping, using the lmo0737, lmo1118, ORF2819 and ORF2110 genes. Three different multiplex PCRs were used to obtain the virulence profiles by the rrn, hlyA, actA, prfA, inlA, inlB, iap, plcA, plcB and mpl marker genes. Furthermore, in vitro biofilm forming ability and resistance to disinfectants were carried out on microtiter plate. The overall prevalence was 31.5% in food, and 68.5% in environmental samples. The prevalent serotype resulted 1/2c (43%), followed by 1/2a (40%), 4b (8.6%), and 1/2b (8.6%). The amplification products of the virulence genes were found in all the isolates with the following prevalence: 77.1% hlyA; 100% rrn; 100% prfA; 97.1% iap; 65.7% inlB; 88.6% inlA; 100% plcA; 100% plcB and 74.3% mpl. As for biofilm forming ability, 37.1% of the strains were positive and resulted weak producer, but all the isolates were sensible to disinfectants showing a reduction of L. monocytogenes growth after each incubation time. More appropriate technologies and application of measures of hygienic control should be implemented to prevent the L. monocytogenes growth and cross-contamination in salsiccia sarda processing plants.