Microbubbles Remove Listeria monocytogenes from the Surface of Stainless Steel, Cucumber, and Avocado

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2022-11-18

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MDPI

Abstract

Fresh produce may be contaminated by bacterial pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes, during harvesting, packaging, or transporting. A low-intensity cavitation process with air being injected into water was studied to determine the microbubbles’ efficiency when detaching L. monocytogenes from stainless steel and the surface of fresh cucumber and avocado. Stainless steel coupons (1″ × 2″), cucumber, and avocado surfaces were inoculated with L. monocytogenes (LCDC strain). After 1, 24 or 48 h, loosely attached cells were washed off, and inoculated areas were targeted by microbubbles (~0.1–0.5 mm dia.) through a bubble diffuser (1.0 L air/min) for 1, 2, 5, or 10 min. For steel, L. monocytogenes (48 h drying) detachment peaked at 2.95 mean log reduction after 10 min of microbubbles when compared to a no-bubble treatment. After 48 h pathogen drying, cucumbers treated for 10 min showed a 1.78 mean log reduction of L. monocytogenes. For avocados, L. monocytogenes (24 h drying) detachment peaked at 1.65 log reduction after 10 min of microbubbles. Microbubble applications may be an effective, economical, and environmentally friendly way to remove L. monocytogenes, and possibly other bacterial pathogens, from food contact surfaces and the surfaces of whole, intact fresh produce.

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Citation

Chen, P.; Eifert, J.; Jung, S.; Strawn, L.K.; Li, H. Microbubbles Remove Listeria monocytogenes from the Surface of Stainless Steel, Cucumber, and Avocado. Materials 2022, 15, 8203.