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Effect of humidity and temperature on the survival of Listeria monocytogenes on surfaces.

Redfern, J and Verran, J (2017) Effect of humidity and temperature on the survival of Listeria monocytogenes on surfaces. Letters in Applied Microbiology. ISSN 0266-8254

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Abstract

Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogenic bacterium, with human disease and infection linked to dairy products, seafood, ready-to-eat meat and raw & undercooked meats. Stainless steel is the most common food preparation surface and therefore, it is important to understand how food storage conditions such as surface materials, temperature and relative humidity can affect survival of L. monocytogenes. In this study, survival of L. monocytogenes on stainless steel was investigated at three temperatures (4, 10 and 21°C), each approx. 11%, 50% and 85% humidity. Results indicate that the lower the temperature, the more cells were recovered in all three humidity environments, whilst medium humidity enhances survival, irrespective of temperature. Lower humidity decreases recovery at all temperatures. These data support the guidance noted above that humidity control is important, and that lower humidity environments are less likely to support retention of viable L. monocytogenes on a stainless steel surface.

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