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Development of synthetic media mimicking food soils to study the behaviour of Listeria monocytogenes on stainless steel surfaces

Overney, Anaïs, Chassaing, Danielle, Carpentier, Brigitte, Guillier, Laurent, Firmesse, Olivier
International journal of food microbiology 2016 v.238 pp. 7-14
Listeria monocytogenes, adhesion, cell viability, culture media, food contact surfaces, food contamination, food industry, food processing plants, hygiene, meat, meat juices, models, physiological state, ready-to-eat foods, smoked salmon, stainless steel
Listeria monocytogenes is one of the main targets of hygiene procedures in the ready-to-eat food industry due to its ability to persist for months or even years in processing plants, where it can contaminate food during processing. The factors associated with persistence are often those that foster growth, which itself depends on food contamination of surfaces. It is therefore essential to experiment by using food soils or media modelling these soils to understand the behaviour of L. monocytogenes on surfaces of food processing plants. Thus, we set up an experimental plan including three physiological parameters characteristic of the behaviour of cells on surfaces, namely spatial distribution, adhesion forces and the physiological state of sessile L. monocytogenes. These were recorded in two food soils: smoked salmon juice and meat exudate.According to our results, the behaviour of L. monocytogenes on stainless steel surfaces is highly dependent on the food soil used. The presence of viable but non-culturable (VBNC) cells was demonstrated using meat exudate, while all viable cells were recovered using smoked salmon juice. Moreover, on the basis of our criteria and after validation with three strains of L. monocytogenes, we showed that smoked salmon juice can be substituted by a modified culture medium, demonstrating that drawbacks associated with the use of food soils can be overcome.