Effect of environmental factors and cell physiological state on Pulsed Electric Fields resistance and repair capacity of various strains of Escherichia coli

Author: Somolinos, M.; Garcia, D.; Manas, P.; Condon, S.; Pagan, R.

Description: The aim was to determine the resistance variation of four strains of Escherichia coli to Pulsed Electric Fields (PEF), the role of the sigma factor RpoS in PEF resistance, as well as the influence of several environmental factors and the cell physiological state on the PEF resistance and repair capacity. The rpoS null mutant, E. coli BJ4L1, exhibited decreased PEF resistance as compared with its wild-type parent, BJ4. W3110 and O157:H7 were the most PEF-resistant strains: whereas 2 and more than 3 Log10 cycles of BJ4 and BJ4L1 cells, respectively, were inactivated after 50 pulses at 35 kV/cm, only 0.5 Log10 cycle of inactivation of W3110 and O157:H7 was attained. A different pattern was observed and the resistance variation among strains was largely reduced, when selective recovery media were used. At exponential growth phase, the resistance of the four strains was lower, and more than 4 Log10 cycles of inactivation of all strains tested were attained at 30 kV/cm. Previous heat and cold shock treatments scarcely influenced cell PEF resistance. PEF survival increased with the reduction in water activity of the treatment medium to 0.94: the occurrence of sublethally injured cells was negligible, and less than 1 Log10 cycle of inactivation was attained at 35 kV/cm. PEF-treated cells were sensitive to a subsequent storage at pH 4.0 or in the presence of sorbic acid, attaining a final inactivation of 4-5 Log10 cycles after 24 hour-incubation. In conclusion, the work confirms the role of rpoS in PEF resistance. E. coli strains exhibit large differences in PEF resistance. These differences were less important when cells were recovered under selective conditions. Both resistance variation among strains and occurrence of sublethal damage were noticeably influenced by the environmental factors tested.

Subject headings: Colony Count, Microbial; Electromagnetic Fields/adverse effects; Escherichia coli/growth & development/physiology; Escherichia coli O157/growth & development/physiology; Food Microbiology; Food Preservation/methods; Humans; Hydrogen-Ion Concentration; Kinetics; Temperature; Time Factors

Publication year: 2008

Journal or book title: International Journal of Food Microbiology

Volume: 124

Issue: 3

Pages: 260-267

Find the full text : http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168160508001451

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 314