The resistance of Escherichia coli O157:H7 strains ATCC 43895-, 43895-EPS (an exopolysaccharide [EPS]-overproducing mutant), and ATCC 43895+ (a curli-producing mutant) to chlorine, a sanitizer commonly used in the food industry, was studied. Planktonic cells of strains 43895-EPS and/or ATCC 43895+ grown under conditions supporting EPS and curli production, respectively, showed the highest resistance to chlorine, indicating that EPS and curli afford protection. Planktonic cells (ca. 9 log10 CFU/ml) of all strains, however, were killed within 10 min by treatment with 50 μg of chlorine/ml. Significantly lower numbers of strain 43895-EPS, compared to those of strain ATCC 43895-, attached to stainless steel coupons, but the growth rate of strain 43895-EPS on coupons was not significantly different from that of strain ATCC 43895-, indicating that EPS production did not affect cell growth during biofilm formation. Curli production did not affect the initial attachment of cells to coupons but did enhance biofilm production. The resistance of E. coli O157:H7 to chlorine increased significantly as cells formed biofilm on coupons; strain ATCC 43895+ was the most resistant. Population sizes of strains ATCC 43895+ and ATCC 43895- in biofilm formed at 12°C were not significantly different, but cells of strain ATCC 43895+ showed significantly higher resistance than did cells of strain ATCC 43895-. These observations support the hypothesis that the production of EPS and curli increase the resistance of E. coli O157:H7 to chlorine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology