Attachment behaviour of Escherichia coli K12 and Salmonella Typhimurium P6on food contact surfaces for food transportation

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The role of cargo container lining materials aluminium, a fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) and stainless steel in bacterial cross contamination during transport was assessed. For this, attachment and detachment of Escherichia coli K12 and Salmonella Typhimurium P6 on the three surfaces in the absence or presence of
residues were evaluated. Observations were correlated with water contact angles of the materials (hydrophobicity) and roughness profile (Ra). Attachment of the organisms was negatively correlated tothe hydrophobicity of the three materials with r = -0.869 and -0.861 for E. coli K12 and S. Typhimurium P6 respectively. Correlation with roughness average was poor; r = -0.425 and -0.413 respectively for E. coli K12 and S. Typhimurium P6. Presence of residue caused significant reduction (p < 0.05) in the levels of bacteria attached to all materials, but made attached bacteria significantly more difficult to detach by either of two rinsing systems from all three surfaces. Explanation for these observations could
be made in part from scanning electron micrographs which showed significantly more bacteria sitting on patches of residue when it was introduced to the surfaces, compared to the bare material sections of the same surfaces. We report these observations for the first time for aluminium and the FRP material and in part for stainless steel. The S. Typhimurium P6 strain also had significantly higher level of attachment than the E. coli K12 strain. Our findings show that food residue and soils affect the extent and amount of bacteria attaching to abiotic surfaces by altering the surface contact properties for the bacteria. Physicochemical properties like hydrophobicity appear to be a better basis for material selection for hygienic design of containers, than the traditional use of Ra.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Microbiology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)139-147
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ID: 38135146