Project title: Application of novel nanotechnologies to control biofilm formation in food industry environments
Abstract: The last decades, biofilms are the subject of research with particular interest as it has become increasingly clear that biofilms are the predominant mode of bacterial growth. Biofilms are the microbial consortium which is attached on a surface and surrounded by a layer of extracellular polysaccharides. Biofilms have been associated with several problems in food industry as the conditions in food industry environment may support biofilm formation. Biofilm formation on food industry surfaces is undesirable and may pose a serious health hazard because upon subsequent de-attachment, may become a significant source of food contamination and may lead to foodborne disease outbreaks. Thus, emphasis should be given on the removal of microorganisms from food industry surfaces by the use of disinfectants. A disinfecting agent could act in two ways, either by preventing adhesion and/or biofilm formation to a surface or by removing the target microorganism from the contaminated surface. In addition, a disinfecting agent to be considered effective and useful for food industry should act against significant foodborne pathogens. The pathogenic bacteria Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Escherichia coli have been associated with major foodborne outbreaks according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The importance of these microorganisms for food industry has been also linked to their ability to form biofilms. In recent years, an effort has been made to find novel methods for controlling this phenomenon. Because of the potential effect of nanoparticles as antimicrobial agents and inhibitors of biofilm formation, it appears that this technology might be an attractive alternative one as a mean of disinfecting the surfaces in the food industry. The proposed project aims to create a new surface disinfectant consisted of TiO2 nanoparticles and combined with UV irradiation. After the product development, the disinfecting and antibiofilm
effectiveness against foodborne pathogens will be checked on surfaces and materials used in food industry. More specifically, in this proposal, the potential antimicrobial effect of the developed product against growth and survival of Salmonella enterica ser. Enteritidis, Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli will be monitored. The choice of three pathogens beyond their importance for food safety was based on the control of the effectiveness of the developed product in different environments. In brief, Salmonella enterica ser. Enteritidis is a major pathogen associated with poultry and egg processing industry, Listeria monocytogenes has been widely isolated from industry producing dairy products and fermented meat products, while Escherichia coli have been detected in beef producing environments. In addition, pilot application will be carried out in two food industries, at least. Through this plan, a more holistic approach will be implemented testing the effectiveness of nanoparticles for surface disinfection within the food industry, aiming thus in food safety enhancement.