According to recent research, once Salmonella bacteria get into a food processing facility and have an opportunity to form a biofilm on surfaces, it is likely to be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, to kill it, according to a study published ahead of print in the journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
A biofilm is any group of microorganisms in which cells stick to each other on a surface. These adherent cells are frequently embedded within a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). Biofilm EPS is a polymeric conglomeration generally composed of extracellular DNA, proteins, and polysaccharides.
Researchers from National University of Ireland, Galway conducted a study in which they attempted to kill Salmonella biofilms on a variety of hard surfaces, using three types of disinfectant.
“We found that it was not possible to kill the Salmonella cells using any of the three disinfectants, if the biofilm was allowed to grow for seven days before the disinfectant was applied,” said Mary Corcoran, a researcher on the study. Even soaking the biofilms in disinfectant for an hour and a half failed to kill them
She warned that food-processing facilities must take strict care to keep Salmonella out of the clean areas where cooked foods get further processing and packaged.