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Microbial dynamics in mixed culture biofilms of bacteria surviving sanitation of conveyor belts in salmon-processing plants

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Kjetil Aune


Journal of Applied Microbiology 2016; Volume 120. p. 366–378. 2016

Langsrud, Solveig; Moen, Birgitte; Møretrø, Trond; Løype, Marie; Løype, Marie; Heir, Even

Aims The microbiota surviving sanitation of salmon-processing conveyor belts was identified and its growth dynamics further investigated in a model mimicking processing surfaces in such plants. Methods and Results A diverse microbiota dominated by Gram-negative bacteria was isolated after regular sanitation in three salmon processing plants. A cocktail of 14 bacterial isolates representing all genera isolated from conveyor belts (Listeria, Pseudomonas, Stenotrophomonas, Brochothrix, Serratia, Acinetobacter, Rhodococcus and Chryseobacterium) formed stable biofilms on steel coupons (12°C, salmon broth) of about 109 CFU cm−2 after 2 days. High-throughput sequencing showed that Listeria monocytogenes represented 0·1–0·01% of the biofilm population and that Pseudomonas spp dominated. Interestingly, both Brochothrix sp. and a Pseudomonas sp. dominated in the surrounding suspension. Conclusions The microbiota surviving sanitation is dominated by Pseudomonas spp. The background microbiota in biofilms inhibit, but do not eliminate L. monocytogenes. Significance and Impact of the Study The results highlights that sanitation procedures have to been improved in the salmon-processing industry, as high numbers of a diverse microbiota survived practical sanitation. High-throughput sequencing enables strain level studies of population dynamics in biofilm.

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