U.S – Researchers have unveiled a powerful ally in the fight against Listeria monocytogenes, a notorious foodborne pathogen, in a study recently published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology,

The study highlights the efficacy of antimicrobial blue light technology in neutralizing both dried cells and biofilms of Listeria monocytogenes, offering a promising solution to enhance food safety protocols.

Listeria monocytogenes, a resilient pathogen, poses significant challenges in the food production industry.

The research team conducted a series of experiments to assess the effectiveness of blue light against L. monocytogenes in various states, including dried cells and biofilms.

Funded by the Center for Produce Safety and the Texas International Produce Association, the study examined different wavelengths and plate materials commonly found in food production environments.

The results were striking: when subjected to blue light treatment at 405 nanometers wavelength, viable L. monocytogenes dried cells and biofilms were dramatically reduced.

The team achieved a 3-log reduction in colony forming units per square centimeter (CFU/cm2) with specific doses, indicating the robust inactivation of the pathogen.

“These results contribute to advancing our understanding of the potential of blue light to treat inert surfaces contaminated with L. monocytogenes,” said corresponding author Francisco Diez-Gonzalez, Ph.D., Director and Professor, Center for Food Safety, University of Georgia.

Material matters

The choice of material on which L. monocytogenes was placed proved to be pivotal. Polystyrene, a widely used plastic, exhibited exceptional results, with a 4.0 log CFU/cm2 reduction after irradiation at 405 nm.

This remarkable outcome, coupled with reductions observed on other materials, underscores the technology’s versatility in combating contamination on diverse surfaces within food production facilities.

Observations revealed a decrease in biofilm biomass, indicating damage to biofilm cell membranes. This disruption, coupled with the removal of biofilm portions, emphasized blue light’s potential as a potent intervention strategy against Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

The implications of this research are far-reaching. By demonstrating the efficacy of antimicrobial blue light technology, the study paves the way for innovative interventions in food safety practices.

Its application on various surfaces and materials commonly used in the food industry presents a practical and adaptable solution to combat L. monocytogenes, enhancing the overall safety of food products.

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