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Biofilm Applications of Bacteriophages

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Abstract

Industrial settings, the food processing industry in particular, have strict sanitation procedures to minimize food product contamination and guarantee that their products are safe to be consumed. Sanitation procedures are routinely used, yet still pathogens are recovered from foods and processing surfaces that may eventually cause foodborne illnesses. Microorganisms have a natural tendency to attach to surfaces – such as food contact surfaces, foods of animal and plant origin, and tubing and equipment, among others – and start forming biofilms, that is, cells are found embedded within a matrix of extracellular polymeric substances.

In this chapter we review fundamental aspects involved in cell adhesion and consequent biofilm formation in food industrial settings and their control and prevention using bacteriophages. The challenges involved in the use of bacteriophages for these applications will also be covered herein.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) under the scope of the project PTDC/BBB-BSS/6471/2014, the strategic funding of UID/BIO/04469/2013 unit and COMPETE 2020 (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006684), and under the scope of the Project RECI/BBB-EBI/0179/2012 (FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-027462). This work was also supported by BioTecNorte operation (NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000004) funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the scope of Norte2020 – Programa Operacional Regional do Norte. Catarina Milho acknowledges FCT for the grant SFRH/BD/94434/2013. Sanna Sillankorva is an FCT Investigator (IF/01413/2013).

Glossary

BAC:

Benzalkonium chloride

Biocides:

The European legislation as a chemical substance or microorganism intended to destroy, deter, render harmless, or exert a controlling effect on any harmful organism by chemical or biological means. US EPA defines biocide as a diverse group of poisonous substances including preservatives, insecticides, disinfectants, and pesticides used for the control of organisms that are harmful to human or animal health or that cause damage to natural or manufactured products

Biofilm:

Surface-associated microbial cells that are embedded in a self-produced extracellular polymeric substance matrix

Biofilm microcolonies:

Macroscopically visible clumps of cells

CFU:

Colony forming units

Cross-contamination:

Product contamination, for instance, as a result of spread of moisture drops and aerosols formed during cleaning and worker’s activities

Disinfectants:

Agent that is applied to inanimate objects to kill some but not necessarily all organisms

EPA:

Environmental Protection Agency

EPS:

Extracellular polymeric substances comprising mainly polysaccharides, nucleic and amino acids, glycoproteins and phosphoproteins, sugars, phospholipids, uronic acids, and phenolic compounds

EPS matrix:

Extracellular polymeric substances matrix that provides mechanical stability, mediate microbial adhesion and forms a 3D polymer network that immobilizes biofilm cells

Fresh-cut produce:

Any fresh fruit or vegetable that has been physically altered from its original form, but remains in a fresh state

HACCP:

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points

HHP:

High hydrostatic pressure

Mature biofilm:

Complex 3D biofilm structure comprising cells in different physiological states distributed in different layers

mJ:

Millijoule

MOI:

Multiplicity of infection

MPa:

Megapascal

Multispecies biofilm:

Biofilm community that is formed by multiple bacterial species

Opportunistic:

Pathogens that cause infections and take advantage of an opportunity that is not normally available

Persister cells:

Cells that survive a stress, e.g., antibiotic treatment, due to their lack of metabolism, staying in a resting state

QAC:

Quaternary ammonium compounds

Quorum sensing:

Cell-cell communication mechanism that synchronizes gene expression in response to the cell density of a given population

RTE:

Ready to eat

Sanitizer:

Agent used to reduce the microbiological contamination to acceptable levels. These levels must conform the levels set by health regulations

Sequestrant:

Chemical action derived from the binding of a metal ion in solution with the formation of a soluble and stable complex

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Milho, C., Silva, M.D., Sillankorva, S., Harper, D.R. (2019). Biofilm Applications of Bacteriophages. In: Harper, D., Abedon, S., Burrowes, B., McConville, M. (eds) Bacteriophages. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-40598-8_27-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-40598-8_27-1

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