Differential effect of food sanitizers on formation of viable but nonculturable salmonella enterica in poultry

Laura Purevdorj-Gage, Albemarle Corporation
Brian Nixon, Albemarle Corporation
Kyle Bodine, Albemarle Corporation
Qilong Xu, Southern Microbiological Services
William T. Doerrler, Southern Microbiological Services


Copyright © 2018 International Association for Food Protection. A method for microscopic enumeration of viable Salmonella enterica in meat samples was developed by using the LIVE/ DEAD BacLight kit technology. A two-step centrifugation and wash process was developed to clean the samples from food and chemical impurities that might otherwise interfere with the appropriate staining reactions. The accuracy of the BacLight kit–based viability assessments was confirmed with various validation tests that were conducted by following the manufacturer’s instructions. For the biocide challenge tests, chicken parts each bearing around 8.5 log of S. enterica were sprayed with common food sanitizers such as 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin (DBDMH), lactic acid (LA), and peracetic acid (PAA). The log reduction (LR) of S. enterica for each test biocide was evaluated by microscopic and conventional culture plate methods. The results show that both LA and PAA treatments generated a greater number of microscopic counts compared with the corresponding plate counts with differences being around half a log. This discrepancy is believed to occur when cells enter a so-called viable but nonculturable (VBNC) state, and to our knowledge, this is the first report documenting the presence of VBNC in PAA- and LA-treated food samples. In contrast, the BacLight-based viable counts were comparable to the culture-based enumerations of all DBDMH-treated samples. Therefore, we concluded that DBDMH-treated meat did not contain significant VBNC populations of S. enterica. A detailed description of our spray system, the dye validation, and the treatment reproducibility are also provided in this work.