We investigated the efficacy of sequential treatments of aqueous chlorine and chlorine dioxide and drying in killing Escherichia coli O157:H7 in biofilms formed on stainless steel, glass, plastic, and wooden surfaces. Cells attached to and formed a biofilm on wooden surfaces at significantly (P≤0.05) higher levels compared with other surface types. The lethal activities of sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) and aqueous chlorine dioxide (ClO2) against E. coli O157:H7 in a biofilm on various food-contact surfaces were compared. Chlorine dioxide generally showed greater lethal activity than NaOCl against E. coli O157:H7 in a biofilm on the same type of surface. The resistance of E. coli O157:H7 to both sanitizers increased in the order of wood>plastic>glass>stainless steel. The synergistic lethal effects of sequential ClO2 and drying treatments on E. coli O157:H7 in a biofilm on wooden surfaces were evaluated. When wooden surfaces harboring E. coli O157:H7 biofilm were treated with ClO2 (200μg/ml, 10min), rinsed with water, and subsequently dried at 43% relative humidity and 22°C, the number of E. coli O157:H7 on the surface decreased by an additional 6.4CFU/coupon within 6h of drying. However, when the wooden surface was treated with water or NaOCl and dried under the same conditions, the pathogen decreased by only 0.4 or 1.0logCFU/coupon, respectively, after 12h of drying. This indicates that ClO2 treatment of food-contact surfaces results in residual lethality to E. coli O157:H7 during the drying process. These observations will be useful when selecting an appropriate type of food-contact surfaces, determining a proper sanitizer for decontamination, and designing an effective sanitization program to eliminate E. coli O157:H7 on food-contact surfaces in food processing, distribution, and preparation environments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality