Efficacy of Ultraviolet Light and Antimicrobials to Reduce Listeria monocytogenes in Chill Brines
Parikh, Priti P.
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Chill brines used in ready-to-eat meat processing may be an important source of post-processing contamination by Listeria monocytogenes. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of ultraviolet light (UV) in combination with antimicrobials to reduce L. monocytogenes in fresh and used chill brines. Three different antimicrobials were used in combination with UV; citric acid (CA, 0.2 and 0.5%), dimethyl dicarbonate (DMDC, 250 and 500 ppm), and hydrogen peroxide (HP, 2000 and 4000 ppm). For fresh brine studies, brine (8.0% w/v NaCl) was prepared and inoculated with a cocktail of three L. monocytogenes strains (approximately 6 log CFU/mL). Brine was treated with UV alone, antimicrobials alone, and combination of UV and antimicrobials. Moreover, to observe the effect of treatment temperature and brine circulation through the UV system on survival of listeriae cells, inoculated brine was circulated through the system without any treatment that served as control for all the treatments. For UV treatment, inoculated brine solution was exposed to UV in an Ultraviolet Water Treatment Unit (Model: AMD 150B/1/2T D; Aquionics Inc., Peak output: 254 nm) fitted with an inline chiller to maintain brine temperature of -1Â°C. Samples were withdrawn at regular intervals for 120 minutes. When L. monocytogenes population was no longer detectable via direct plating on MOX, enrichment was performed and suspect colonies were confirmed using API-Listeria. For antimicrobial-only (i.e., no UV) treatments, a specific concentration of antimicrobial was added in inoculated brine and samples were taken for 120 minutes. For the brine that received combination of UV and antimicrobial treatments, UV was turned on once a specific concentration of antimicrobial was added in inoculated brine and samples were withdrawn at regular intervals for 120 minutes. When treated with UV alone, L. monocytogenes population decreased from approximately 6 log CFU/mL to below the detection limit (i.e., 1 log CFU/mL) in 15 minutes with the reduction rate of 0.87 log CFU/mL per minute. However, cells were detectable by enrichment through 120 minutes. The highest rate of decline (0.90 log CFU/mL per minute) was achieved by the combination of UV and 500 ppm DMDC (UV+500 ppm DMDC), which was not significantly different from the reduction rates of UV and UV+0.5% CA. UV+500 ppm DMDC reduced L. monocytogenes to the detection limit in 15 minutes and the organism was not detected by enrichment after 60 minutes. Though the reduction rate of UV+0.5% CA was not significantly lower than the rate of UV+500 ppm DMDC (P>0.05), the former treatment resulted in non-detectable levels more quickly (45 minutes) than the latter (60 minutes). Thus, based on enrichment studies UV+0.5% CA was the most effective treatment in reducing the population of L. monocytogenes in fresh brine. Moreover, when brine was treated with 0.5% CA alone the population decreased to below detection limit in 15 minutes with the rate significantly lower than UV+500 ppm DMDC and UV+0.5% CA (P<0.05). However, L. monocytogenes was not detectable by enrichment from 60 minutes. To summarize, through enrichment studies we observed that UV+0.5% CA, UV+500 DMDC, and 0.5% CA Control were more effective than other treatments in reducing the listeriae population to a non-detectable level. Spent brine is recycled brine that was obtained from a frankfurter processor after its maximum usage. Results of spent brine studies showed that when brine was treated with UV+4000 ppm HP and UV+2000 ppm HP, L. monocytogenes population decreased to the detection limit in 45 minutes and was not detected by enrichment from 120 minutes. These treatments were observed to be the most effective treatments with a reduction rate of 0.12 log CFU/mL per minute. The reduction rate of some other treatments such as, UV+250 and 500 ppm DMDC, UV+0.2% and 0.5% CA, and UV alone was not significantly different from UV+4000 and 2000 ppm HP. However, the population was detected through enrichment up to 120 minutes in all other treatments. The results of these studies indicate that combinations of UV and antimicrobial may be more effective than either treatment alone (except 0.5% CA treatment) to process fresh chill brines. However, the antimicrobials and UV were less effective for controlling L. monocytgoenes in spent brine; presumably due to the presence of organic matter.
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