Significance of microbial biofilms in food industry: a review
Biofilms have been of considerable interest in the context of food hygiene. Of special significance is the ability of microorganisms to attach and grow on food and food-contact surfaces under favourable conditions. Biofilm formation is a dynamic process and different mechanisms are involved in their attachment and growth. Extracellular polymeric substances play an important role in the attachment and colonization of microorganisms to food-contact surfaces. Various techniques have been adopted for the proper study and understanding of biofilm attachment and control. If the microorganisms from food-contact surfaces are not completely removed, they may lead to biofilm formation and also increase the biotransfer potential. Therefore, various preventive and control strategies like hygienic plant lay-out and design of equipment, choice of materials, correct use and selection of detergents and disinfectants coupled with physical methods can be suitably applied for controlling biofilm formation on food-contact surfaces. In addition, bacteriocins and enzymes are gaining importance and have an unique potential in the food industry for the effective biocontrol and removal of biofilms. These newer biocontrol strategies are considered important for the maintenance of biofilm-free systems, for quality and safety of foods.