Improved Antimicrobial Potency through Synergistic Action of Chitosan Microparticles and Low Electric Field
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- Azadi, G., Seward, M., Larsen, M.U. et al. Appl Biochem Biotechnol (2012) 168: 531. doi:10.1007/s12010-012-9794-5
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Techniques to inhibit gram-negative bacteria such as Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli are valuable as the prevalence of large-scale industrial food preparation increases the likelihood of contamination. Chitosan, the deacetylated derivative of chitin, has been demonstrated to inhibit bacteria growth in acidic environments, but is significantly less effective in preventing bacteria grown at pH >7.0. Pulsed electric fields, constituting another method of bacteria inhibition, are difficult to generate at sufficient strength due to the high electric potentials required. This study utilizes adsorption of particulate chitosan in a very low electric field for an increased inhibition of gram-negative bacteria in neutral or alkaline pH conditions. Chitosan microparticles are demonstrated to flocculate E. coli, inhibit growth, and exhibit increased efficacy when combined with a low voltage electric field applied over 2-min intervals. Using sustained pulses of approximately 100 V/cm, it is demonstrated that bacteria viability is reduced by several orders of magnitude. The degree of bacterial inhibition is increased when chitosan microparticles are introduced to the system prior to imposing a small electric field.