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Food Control
25, No. 2, 2012; Pages: 441 - 447

Evaluation of rhamnolipid and surfactin to reduce the adhesion and remove biofilms of individual and mixed cultures of food pathogenic bacteria

Milene Zezzi do Valle Gomes, Marcia Nitschke

Depto. Físico-Química, Instituto de Química de São Carlos (IQSC) – USP, Av. Trabalhador São Carlense, 400, Caixa Postal 780, São Carlos, SP, CEP 13560-970, Brazil.

Biofilms represent a great concern for food industry, since they can be a source of persistent contamination leading to food spoilage and to the transmission of diseases. To avoid the adhesion of bacteria and the formation of biofilms, an alternative is the pre-conditioning of surfaces using biosurfactants, microbial compounds that can modify the physicochemical properties of surfaces changing bacterial interactions and consequently adhesion. Different concentrations of the biosurfactants, surfactin from Bacillus subtilis and rhamnolipids from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, were evaluated to reduce the adhesion and to disrupt biofilms of food-borne pathogenic bacteria. Individual cultures and mixed cultures of Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella Enteritidis were studied using polystyrene as the model surface. The pre-conditioning with surfactin 0.25% reduced by 42.0% the adhesion of L. monocytogenes and S. Enteritidis, whereas the treatment using rhamnolipids 1.0% reduced by 57.8% adhesion of L. monocytogenes and by 67.8% adhesion of S. aureus to polystyrene.Biosurfactants were less effective to avoid adhesion of mixed cultures of the bacteria when compared with individual cultures. After 2 h contact with surfactin at 0.1% concentration, the pre-formed biofilms of S. aureus were reduced by 63.7%, L. monocytogenesby 95.9%, S. Enteritidis by 35.5% and the mixed culture biofilm by 58.5%. The rhamnolipids at 0.25% concentration removed 58.5% the biofilm of S. aureus, 26.5% of L. monocytogenes, 23.0% of S. Enteritidis and 24.0% the mixed culture after 2 h contact. In general, the increase in concentration of biosurfactants and in the time of contact decreased biofilm removal percentage. These results suggest that surfactin and rhamnolipids can be explored to control the attachment and to disrupt biofilms of individual and mixed cultures of the food-borne pathogens.

Keywords: Bacterial adhesion; Biofilms; Biosurfactants; Rhamnolipids; Surfactin



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