This resource is available as a PDF only.
The ability of bacteria to adhere to surfaces has significant implications for the food industry. Attachment of pathogenic bacteria to fresh produce and contact surfaces can increase food safety risks as these surface properties allow bacteria to securely adhere to them.
Food contact surface attached bacteria can form biofilms and these biofilms can enhance resistance to sanitation. The enhanced resistance of biofilms to sanitizers can be attributed to many factors including formation of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) that rapidly consume sanitizers such as chlorine. In addition, repeated exposure of bacteria to sub-lethal concentrations of sanitizers in a biofilm matrix can also enhance their resistance to sanitizers. Furthermore, the lack of removal of this EPS during sanitation may result in reformation of a biofilm post sanitation, thus enhancing their persistence on food contact surfaces.
Enhanced resistance and persistence of biofilms are highly significant as approximately 65% of the foodborne outbreaks are traced back to bacterial biofilms.
Thus, the antimicrobial activity of commonly used sanitizes including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, quaternary ammonium (QUATS), and peracetic acid can be limited against surface attached microbes due to rapid depletion in concentration and activity upon reactions with organic matters and complexity of structural features of the plant surface and biofilms.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law.
January 27, 2021