Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    High voltage atmospheric cold air plasma control of bacterial biofilms on fresh produce
    Atmospheric cold plasma (ACP) offers great potential for decontamination of food borne pathogens. This study examined the antimicrobial efficacy of ACP against a range of pathogens of concern to fresh produce comparing planktonic cultures, monoculture biofilms (Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, Listeria monocytogenes, Pseudomonas fluorescens) and mixed culture biofilms (Listeria monocytogenes and Pseudomonas fluorescens). Biotic and abiotic surfaces commonly occurring in the fresh food industry were investigated. Microorganisms showed varying susceptibility to ACP treatment depending on target and process factors. Bacterial biofilm populations treated with high voltage (80 kV) ACP were reduced significantly (p < 0.05) in both mono- and mixed species biofilms after 60 s of treatment and yielded non-detectable levels after extending treatment time to 120 s. However, an extended time was required to reduce the challenge mixed culture biofilm of L. monocytogenes and P. fluorescens inoculated on lettuce, which was dependent on biofilm formation conditions and substrate. Contained treatment for 120 s reduced L. monocytogenes and P. fluorescens inoculated as mixed cultures on lettuce (p < 0.05) by 2.2 and 4.2 Log 10 CFU/ml respectively. When biofilms were grown at 4 °C on lettuce, there was an increased resistance to ACP treatment by comparison with biofilm grown at temperature abuse conditions of 15 °C. Similarly, L. monocytogenes and P. fluorescens exposed to cold stress (4 °C) for 1 h demonstrated increased tolerance to ACP treatment compared to non-stressed cells. These finding demonstrates that bacterial form, mono versus mixed challenges as well as environmental stress conditions play an important role in ACP inactivation efficacy.
      35Scopus© Citations 37
  • Publication
    The Effect of Atmospheric Cold Plasma on Bacterial Stress Responses and Virulence Using Listeria monocytogenes Knockout Mutants
    Listeria monocytogenes is an opportunistic intracellular pathogen commonly associated with serious infections and multiple food-borne outbreaks. In this study, we investigated the influence of atmospheric cold plasma (80 kV, 50 Hz) on L. monocytogenes (EGD-e) and its knockout mutants of sigB, rsbR, prfA, gadD, and lmo0799 genes at different treatment time intervals. Further, to ascertain if sub-lethal environmental stress conditions could influence L. monocytogenes survival and growth responses, atmospheric cold plasma (ACP) resistance was evaluated for the cultures exposed to cold (4°C) or acid (pH 4) stress for 1 h. The results demonstrate that both wild-type and knockout mutants were similarly affected after 1 min exposure to ACP (p > 0.05), with a difference in response noted only after 3 min of treatment. While all L. monocytogenes strains exposed to acid/cold stress were hypersensitive to ACP treatment and were significantly reduced or inactivated within 1 min of treatment (p < 0.05). The results indicate sigB and prfA are important for general stress resistance and biofilm, respectively, loss of these two genes significantly reduced bacterial resistance to ACP treatment. In addition, exposure to sub-lethal 1min ACP increased the gene expression of stress associated genes. SigB showed the highest gene expression, increasing by 15.60 fold, followed by gadD2 (7.19) and lmo0799 (8.6) after 1 min exposure. Overall, an increase in gene expression was seen in all stress associated genes analyzed both at 1 min treatment; while long treatment time reduced the gene expression and some cases down-regulated prfA and gadD3 gene expression. By comparing the response of mutants under ACP exposure to key processing parameters, the experimental results presented here provide a baseline for understanding the bacterial genetic response and resistance to cold plasma stress and offers promising insights for optimizing ACP applications.
      63Scopus© Citations 12
  • Publication
    Efficacy of cold plasma functionalised water for improving microbiological safety of fresh produce and wash water recycling
    Atmospheric cold plasma (ACP) is an effective method for microbiological decontamination. This study evaluated an alternative water-based decontamination approach for inactivation of bacterial population from fresh produce and in the wash water generated from fresh produce washing. The study characterised ACP inactivation of attached Listeria innocua and Pseudomonas fluorescens inoculated on lettuce in comparison to chlorine treatment. P. fluorescens was sensitive to ACP treatment and was reduced below detection limit within 3 min of treatment. L. innocua population was reduced by ∼2.4 Log10 CFU/g after 5 min of treatment; showing similar inactivation efficacy to chlorine treatment. The microbial load in wash water was continuously decreased and was below detection limits after 10 min of ACP treatment. Micro-bubbling along with agitation assisted the bacterial detachment and distribution of reactive species, thus increasing bacterial inactivation efficacy from fresh produce and wash water. A shift in pH of plasma functionalised water was observed along with high concentration of nitrate and ozone with a relative amount of nitrites which increased with plasma exposure time. Further, L. innocua treated at different independent pH conditions showed minimal or no effect of pH on ACP bacterial inactivation efficacy. Aqueous ACP treatment poses a promising alternative for decontamination of fresh produce and the associated wash-waters which could be applied in the food industry to replace continuous chlorine dosing of process waters.
      23Scopus© Citations 39