The ability of peracetic acid and peroctanoic acid sanitizers to inactivate mixed-culture biofilms of a Pseudomonas sp. and Listeria monocytogenes on stainless steel was investigated. Types of biofilms tested included a 4-h attachment of the mixed-cell suspension and a 48-h biofilm of mixed culture formed in skim milk or tryptic soy broth. Biofilm-containing coupons were immersed in solutions of hypochlorite, peracetic acid, and peroctanoic acid either with or without organic challenge. Organic challenge consisted of either coating the biofilms with milk that were then allowed to dry, or adding milk to the sanitizing solution to achieve a 5% concentration. Surviving cells were enumerated by pouring differential agar directly on the treated surfaces. The peracid sanitizers were more effective than chlorine for inactivating biofilm in the presence of organic challenge. The 48-h mixed-culture biofilm grown in milk was reduced to less than 3 CFU/cm2 by 160 ppm of peracid sanitizer after 1 min of exposure. Peroctanoic acid was more effective than peracetic acid against biofilm cells under conditions of organic challenge. Pseudomonas and L. monocytogenes were inactivated to similar levels by the sanitizer treatments, even though Pseudomonas predominated in the initial biofilm population.
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