Studies on the pathogenesis and survival of different culture forms of Listeria monocytogenes to pulsed UV-light irradiation after exposure to mild-food processing stresses

Derek Bradley, Brian McNeil, John G Laffey, Neil J Rowan

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25 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of mild conventional food-processing conditions on Listeria monocytogenes survival to pulsed UV (PUV) irradiation and virulence-associated characteristics were investigated. Specifically, this study describes the inability of 10 strains representative of 3 different culture forms or morphotypes of L. monocytogenes to adapt to normally lethal levels of PUV-irradiation after exposure to sub-lethal concentrations of salt (7.5% (w/v) NaCl for 1 h), acid (pH 5.5 for 1 h), heating (48 °C for 1 h) or PUV (UV dose 0.08 μJ/cm(2)). Findings showed that the order of increasing sensitivity of L. monocytogenes of non-adapted and stressed morphotypes to low pH (pH 3.5 for 5 h, adjusted with lactic), high salt (17.5% w/v NaCl for 5 h), heating (60 °C for 1 h) and PUV-irradiation (100 pulses at 7.2 J and 12.8 J, equivalent to UV doses of 2.7 and 8.4 μJ/cm(2) respectively) was typical wild-type smooth (S/WT), atypical filamentous rough (FR) and atypical multiple-cell-chain (MCR) variants. Exposure of L. monocytogenes cells to sub-lethal acid, salt or heating conditions resulted in similar or increased susceptibility to PUV treatments. Only prior exposure to mild heat stressing significantly enhanced invasion of Caco-2 cells, whereas subjection of L. monocytogenes cells to combined sub-lethal salt, acid and heating conditions produced the greatest reduction in invasiveness. Implications of these findings are discussed. This constitutes the first study to show that pre-exposure to mild conventional food-processing stresses enhances sensitivity of different culture morphotypes of L. monocytogenes to PUV, which is growing in popularity as an alternative or complementary approach for decontamination in the food environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330–339
Number of pages10
JournalFood Microbiology
Issue number2
Early online date3 Jan 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • caco-2 cells
  • food handling
  • food irradiation
  • hot temperature
  • humans
  • hydrogen-ion concentration
  • listeria monocytogenes
  • sodium chloride
  • stress, physiological
  • ultraviolet rays

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