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Competition of Listeria monocytogenes Serotype 1/2a and 4b Strains in Mixed-Culture Biofilms

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The majority of Listeria monocytogenes isolates recovered from foods and the environment are strains of serogroup 1/2, especially serotypes 1/2a and 1/2b. However, serotype 4b strains cause the majority of human listeriosis outbreaks. Our investigation of L. monocytogenes biofilms used a simulated food-processing system that consisted of repeated cycles of growth, sanitation treatment, and starvation to determine the competitive fitness of strains of serotypes 1/2a and 4b in pure and mixed-culture biofilms. Selective enumeration of strains of a certain serotype in mixed-culture biofilms on stainless steel coupons was accomplished by using serotype-specific quantitative PCR and propidium monoazide treatment to prevent amplification of extracellular DNA or DNA from dead cells. The results showed that the serotype 1/2a strains tested were generally more efficient at forming biofilms and predominated in the mixed-culture biofilms. The growth and survival of strains of one serotype were not inhibited by strains of the other serotype in mixed-culture biofilms. However, we found that a cocktail of serotype 4b strains survived and grew significantly better in mixed-culture biofilms containing a specific strain of serotype 1/2a (strain SK1387), with final cell densities averaging 0.5 log₁₀ CFU/cm² higher than without the serotype 1/2a strain. The methodology used in this study contributed to our understanding of how environmental stresses and microbial competition influence the survival and growth of L. monocytogenes in pure and mixed-culture biofilms.
Pan, Youwen , Breidt, Frederick Jr. , Kathariou, Sophia
Includes references
Applied and environmental microbiology 2009 Sept. 15, v. 75, no. 18
American Society for Microbiology
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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