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J Food Prot. 2006 Nov;69(11):2621-34.

Lethality of chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and a commercial produce sanitizer to Bacillus cereus and Pseudomonas in a liquid detergent, on stainless steel, and in biofilm.

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Center for Food Safety and Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, Georgia 30223-1797, USA.


Many factors that are not fully understood may influence the effectiveness of sanitizer treatments for eliminating pathogens and spoilage microorganisms in food or detergent residues or in biofilms on food contact surfaces. This study was done to determine the sensitivities of Pseudomonas cells and Bacillus cereus cells and spores suspended in a liquid dishwashing detergent and inoculated onto the surface of stainless steel to treatment with chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and a commercial produce sanitizer (Fit). Cells and spores were incubated in a liquid dishwashing detergent for 16 to 18 h before treatment with sanitizers. At 50 microg/ml, chlorine dioxide killed a significantly higher number of Pseudomonas cells (3.82 log CFU/ml) than did chlorine (a reduction of 1.34 log CFU/ml). Stainless steel coupons were spot inoculated with Pseudomonas cells and B. cereus cells and spores, with water and 5% horse serum as carriers. Chlorine was more effective than chlorine dioxide in killing cells and spores of B. cereus suspended in horse serum. B. cereus biofilm on stainless steel coupons that were treated with chlorine dioxide or chlorine at 200 microg/ml had total population reductions (vegetative cells plus spores) of > or = 4.42 log CFU per coupon; the number of spores was reduced by > or = 3.80 log CFU per coupon. Fit (0.5%) was ineffective for killing spot-inoculated B. cereus and B. cereus in biofilm, but treatment with mixtures of Fit and chlorine dioxide caused greater reductions than did treatment with chlorine dioxide alone. In contrast, when chlorine was combined with Fit, the lethality of chlorine was completely lost. This study provides information on the survival and sanitizer sensitivity of Pseudomonas and B. cereus in a liquid dishwashing detergent, on the surface of stainless steel, and in a biofilm. This information will be useful for developing more effective strategies for cleaning and sanitizing contact surfaces in food preparation and processing environments.

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