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The inhibitory effect of natural microflora of food on growth of Listeria monocytogenes in enrichment broths

Al-Zeyara, S. A., Jarvis, B. and Mackey, B. M. (2011) The inhibitory effect of natural microflora of food on growth of Listeria monocytogenes in enrichment broths. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 145 (1). pp. 98-105. ISSN 0168-1605

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2010.11.036


The aims of this study were to (i) compare the inhibitory effects of the natural microflora of different foods on the growth of Listeria monocytogenes during enrichment in selective and non-selective broths; (ii) to isolate and identify components of the microflora of the most inhibitory food; and (iii) to determine which of these components was most inhibitory to growth of L. monocytogenes in co-culture studies. Growth of an antibioticresistant marker strain of L. monocytogenes was examined during enrichment of a range of different foods in Tryptone Soya Broth (TSB), Half Fraser Broth (HFB) and Oxoid Novel Enrichment (ONE) Broth. Inhibition of L. monocytogenes was greatest in the presence of minced beef, salami and soft cheese and least with prepared fresh salad and chicken pâté. For any particular food the numbers of L. monocytogenes present after 24 h enrichment in different broths increased in the order: TSB, HFB and ONE Broth. Numbers of L. monocytogenes recovered after enrichment in TSB were inversely related to the initial aerobic plate count (APC) in the food but with only a moderate coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.51 implying that microbial numbers and the composition of the microflora both influenced the degree of inhibition of L. monocytogenes. In HFB and ONE Broth the relationship between APC and final L. monocytogenes counts was weaker. The microflora of TSB after 24 h enrichment of minced beef consisted of lactic acid bacteria, Brochothrix thermosphacta, Pseudomonas spp., Enterobacteriaceae, and enterococci. In co-culture studies of L. monocytogenes with different components of the microflora in TSB, the lactic acid bacteria were the most inhibitory followed by the Enterobacteriaceae. The least inhibitory organisms were Pseudomonas sp., enterococci and B. thermosphacta. In HFB and ONE Broth the growth of Gram-negative organisms was inhibited but lactic acid bacteria still reached high numbers after 24 h. A more detailed study of the growth of low numbers of L. monocytogenes during enrichment of minced beef in TSB revealed that growth of L. monocytogenes ceased at a cell concentration of about 102 cfu/ml when lactic acid bacteria entered stationary phase. However in ONE Broth growth of lactic acid bacteria was slower than in TSB with a longer lag time allowing L. monocytogenes to achieve much higher numbers before lactic acid bacteria reached stationary phase. This work has identified the relative inhibitory effects of different components of a natural food microflora and shown that the ability of low numbers of L. monocytogenes to achieve high cell concentrations is highly dependent on the extent to which enrichment media are able to inhibit or delay growth of the more effective competitors.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Food Microbial Sciences Research Group
ID Code:20671

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