This study aimed to investigate the effect of different conditions, including temperature (37 °C, 22 °C, and 4 °C), NaCl concentrations (2.5%, 4%, and 8%), and acidity (pH = 5), on the growth response of persistent and non-persistent isolates of Listeria monocytogenes. The resistance to two common sanitizers (benzalkonium chloride and hydrogen peroxide) was also investigated. A selected group of 41 persistent and non-persistent L. monocytogenes isolates recovered from three cheese processing plants during a previous longitudinal study was assembled. Average lag time was similar for persistent and non-persistent isolates grown at 37 °C, 22 °C and 4 °C but significantly shorter (p < 0.05) for persistent isolates grown at 2.5%, 4% and 8% NaCl, and at pH 5. Average growth rates were significantly higher (p < 0.05) for persistent than for non-persistent isolates when grown at 22 °C, 2.5%, 4% and 8% NaCl, and at pH 5. These results suggest that persistent strains may be better adapted to grow under stressful conditions frequently encountered in food processing environments than non-persistent strains. No relation between persistence and resistance to the tested sanitizers was found.
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Microtiter plate assay
- Quaternary ammonium compounds