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    The detection of food soils and cells on stainless steel using industrial methods: UV illumination and ATP bioluminescence

    Whitehead, Kathryn A., Smith, Lindsay A. and Verran, Joanna (2008) The detection of food soils and cells on stainless steel using industrial methods: UV illumination and ATP bioluminescence. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 127 (1-2). pp. 121-128. ISSN 0168-1605

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    Open food contact surfaces were subjected to organic soiling to provide a source for transfer of microbial cells. Rapid industrial methods used for the detection of residual cells and soil e.g. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) bioluminescence and an ultraviolet (UV) light detection method were assessed for their ability to detect organic soils, or organic soil-cell mix on surfaces. A range of soils (complex [meat extract, fish extract, cottage cheese extract]; oils [cholesterol, fish oil, mixed fatty acids]; proteins [bovine serum albumin, fish peptones casein]; carbohydrates [glycogen, starch, lactose]); was used. Under UV, oily soils, mixed fatty acids, cholesterol and casein were detected at low concentrations, with detection levels ranging from 1% to 0.001% for different substances. Glycogen was the most difficult substance to detect at lower concentrations. Using UV wavelength bands (lambda) of 330-380 nm, 510-560 nm and 590-650 nm, wavelength bands of 330-380 nm, illuminated most of the soils well, whilst the wavelength band of 510-560 nm illuminated the fish extract, cholesterol and fatty acids; the 590-650 nm wavelength band illuminated the lactose. Soils at all concentrations were detected by the ATP bioluminescence method; the complex soils gave the highest readings. When complex soils were combined with Listeria monocytogenes Scott A or a non-pathogenic Escherichia coli O157:H7, ATP measurements increased by 1-2 logs. For UV illumination, the L. monocytogenes and cheese combination was the most intensely illuminated, with E. coli and meat the least. UV illumination is a simple well established method for detecting food soil, with little change in findings when microorganisms are included. Performance can be enhanced in certain circumstances by altering the wavelength. ATP bioluminescence is a proven system for hygienic assessment being especially useful in the presence of microorganisms rather than organic soil alone.

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