20 June 2024
Listeria biofilm hides from sanitizer

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Listeria biofilm may hide from sanitizer. Listeria monocytogenes, a food-borne pathogen, can survive and persist in fruit-packing plants by evading and surviving sanitizers. An estimated 1,600 people in the U.S. contract a serious infection from Listeria bacteria in food each year, and of those individuals, about 260 people die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Listeria Biofilm Sanitizer: A Persistent Threat



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Listeria, a food-borne pathogen, poses a serious health risk, causing infections that can be life-threatening. In the United States alone, an estimated 1,600 individuals contract severe Listeria infections annually, resulting in approximately 260 deaths. To combat this menace, researchers at Penn State University have delved into the mechanisms by which Listeria survives and thrives in fruit-packing facilities, evading sanitizers and persisting in the environment.

Listeria Biofilm Sanitizer: A Protective Shield

The study’s findings reveal that biofilms, communities of microorganisms attached to surfaces, play a crucial role in Listeria’s survival. These biofilms, composed of otherwise harmless microorganisms, form a protective shield around Listeria, hindering the effectiveness of sanitizers and allowing the pathogen to persist.

Listeria Biofilm Sanitizer: Implications for Food Safety

The research underscores the need for reevaluating sanitation protocols in food-processing facilities to minimize Listeria contamination. Assessing the efficacy of commonly used sanitizers against biofilm-forming microorganisms is essential to prevent biofilm formation and enhance Listeria control.

Listeria Biofilm Sanitizer: Industry Collaboration

Penn State Extension educators will collaborate with professional organizations dedicated to sanitation in food-processing facilities to disseminate the research findings. This knowledge will inform and improve sanitation protocols, particularly in the tree-fruit industry, to effectively manage Listeria contamination.

Listeria Biofilm Sanitizer: Wrapping Up

The study highlights the importance of understanding the role of biofilms in Listeria survival and persistence. By addressing biofilm formation and improving sanitation practices, the food industry can take proactive steps to reduce Listeria contamination and ensure food safety.

FAQs

1. What is Listeria, and why is it a health risk?

Listeria is a food-borne pathogen responsible for severe infections, particularly among vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems. It can cause life-threatening infections like meningitis and bloodstream infections.

2. How does Listeria survive in fruit-packing facilities?

Listeria forms biofilms, protective communities of microorganisms, on surfaces within fruit-packing facilities. These biofilms shield Listeria from the effects of sanitizers, allowing it to persist and potentially contaminate fruits.

3. What are the implications of this research for food safety?

The research emphasizes the need for reevaluating sanitation protocols in fruit-packing facilities and other food-processing facilities to minimize Listeria contamination. Effective sanitization practices should address biofilm formation and ensure the use of sanitizers that are effective against biofilm-forming microorganisms.

4. How will the research findings be disseminated to the industry?

Penn State Extension educators will collaborate with professional organizations dedicated to sanitation in food-processing facilities to share the research findings. This knowledge will inform and improve sanitation protocols, particularly in the tree-fruit industry, to effectively manage Listeria contamination.

5. What steps can the food industry take to reduce Listeria contamination?

The food industry can take proactive steps to reduce Listeria contamination by understanding the role of biofilms in its survival and persistence. This involves reevaluating sanitation protocols, assessing the efficacy of sanitizers against biofilm-forming microorganisms, and implementing effective measures to prevent biofilm formation.

Links to additional Resources:

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Listeria 2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Listeria 3. U.S. Department of Agriculture: Listeria monocytogenes

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Listeria monocytogenes, Biofilm (biology), Food safety

Listeria monocytogenes
Listeria monocytogenes is the species of pathogenic bacteria that causes the infection listeriosis. It is a facultative anaerobic bacterium, capable of surviving in the presence or absence of oxygen. It can grow and reproduce inside the host's cells and is one of the most virulent foodborne pathogens: 20 to 30%...
Read more: Listeria monocytogenes

Biofilm
A biofilm is a syntrophic community of microorganisms in which cells stick to each other and often also to a surface. These adherent cells become embedded within a slimy extracellular matrix that is composed of extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs). The cells within the biofilm produce the EPS components, which are...
Read more: Biofilm

Food safety
Food safety (or food hygiene) is used as a scientific method/discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. The occurrence of two or more cases of a similar illness resulting from the ingestion of a common food is known as a food-borne disease outbreak....
Read more: Food safety

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