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Int J Food Microbiol. 2011 Jan 5;144(3):421-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2010.10.029. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

Mixed species biofilms of Listeria monocytogenes and Lactobacillus plantarum show enhanced resistance to benzalkonium chloride and peracetic acid.

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Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TIFN), Nieuwe Kanaal 9A, 6709 PA Wageningen, The Netherlands.


We investigated the formation of single and mixed species biofilms of Listeria monocytogenes strains EGD-e and LR-991, with Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1 as secondary species, and their resistance to the disinfectants benzalkonium chloride and peracetic acid. Modulation of growth, biofilm formation, and biofilm composition was achieved by addition of manganese sulfate and/or glucose to the BHI medium. Composition analyses of the mixed species biofilms using plate counts and fluorescence microscopy with dual fluorophores showed that mixed species biofilms were formed in BHI (total count, 8-9 log₁₀ cfu/well) and that they contained 1-2 log₁₀ cfu/well more L. monocytogenes than L. plantarum cells. Addition of manganese sulfate resulted in equal numbers of both species (total count, 8 log₁₀ cfu/well) in the mixed species biofilm, while manganese sulfate in combination with glucose, resulted in 1-2 log₁₀ more L. plantarum than L. monocytogenes cells (total count, 9 log₁₀ cfu/well). Corresponding single species biofilms of L. monocytogenes and L. plantarum contained up to 9 log₁₀ cfu/well. Subsequent disinfection treatments showed mixed species biofilms to be more resistant to treatments with the selected disinfectants. In BHI with additional manganese sulfate, both L. monocytogenes strains and L. plantarum grown in the mixed species biofilm showed less than 2 log₁₀ cfu/well inactivation after exposure for 15 min to 100 μg/ml benzalkonium chloride, while single species biofilms of both L. monocytogenes strains showed 4.5 log₁₀ cfu/well inactivation and single species biofilms of L. plantarum showed 3.3 log₁₀ cfu/well inactivation. Our results indicate that L. monocytogenes and L. plantarum mixed species biofilms can be more resistant to disinfection treatments than single species biofilms.

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