Influence of Organic Material and Biofilms on Disinfectant Efficacy Against Listeria monocytogenes

Hilda Nyati, Rijkelt Beumer, Stijn van der Veen, Wilma Hazeleger, Tjakko Abee


The effects of organic material and biofilm formation on the efficacy of Suma Tab D4 chlorine tablets and Suma Bac D10 quaternary ammonium compound (QAC) against Listeria monocytogenes was determined in suspension and on stainless steel and polystyrene surfaces according to standard disinfectant test methodology. Exposure to 200 and 740 mg L-1 QAC and to 150 mg L-1 active chlorine resulted in a > 5.0 log10 CFU mL-1 and > 5.0 log10 CFU/coupon reduction of six L. monocytogenes strains within one minute, in suspension tests, and on stainless steel surfaces, respectively. Additionally, there was a reduction by as much as 5 log10 CFU/coupon or 5 log10 CFU/well of reference strains EGDe and Scott A biofilms within five minutes on stainless steel and polystyrene surfaces. Organic material, added as bovine serum albumin at 0.3% (w/v) completely prevented the inactivation of L. monocytogenes in 150 mg L-1 chlorine, while reductions of only 0.6 +- 0.1 log10 CFU mL-1 were recorded in the presence of UHT milk at 3% (v/v). In contrast, reductions of 5 log10 CFU mL-1 were recorded within one minute on exposure to 740 mg L-1 QAC in the presence of 0.3% (w/v) bovine serum albumin and within two minutes in the presence of 20 % (v/v) UHT milk. Although Suma D4 chlorine tablets and Suma Bac D10 QAC are effective listericidal agents at recommended concentrations, Suma Tab D4 chlorine efficacy against L. monocytogenes is impaired by the presence of low concentrations of organic material, while Suma Bac D10 QAC maintains its listericidal activity in high organic loads.


: Listeria monocytogenes; chlorine; quaternary ammonium compounds; organic residues; biofilms

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