Previous Homologous and Heterologous Stress Exposure Induces Tolerance Development to Pulsed Light in Listeria monocytogenes
Pulsed light (PL) treatment can effectively inactivate a large proportion of contaminating bacteria on surfaces and in clear solutions. An important issue that needs to be investigated is whether repeated exposure to PL treatment causes any changes to the growth and resistance behavior of the bacteria surviving the treatment. To test this, three challenge microorganisms were used: Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria innocua, and Escherichia coli. Cells of the challenge bacteria were treated with either low or high PL doses. Survivors of the PL treatment were enumerated, isolated, regrown, and exposed again to PL treatment. PL inactivation curves were generated for the survivors of each exposure cycle (as well as controls) to examine possible differences induced by repeated treatments. Growth curves of L. monocytogenes, L. innocua, and E. coli isolates recovered from exposure to either 1.1 or 10.1 J/cm(2) were not significantly different from the growth curves of untreated cells. Reduction levels of up to 4 and up to 6 log CFU were obtained after exposure to 1.1 and 10.1 J/cm(2), respectively, both for the controls and the repeatedly treated and recovered isolates. These results show that PL did not significantly change the growth kinetics or resistance to PL of the target microorganisms after up to 10 exposures. These findings have significance for the practical application of PL treatment, as they indicate that this technology does not select for microorganisms with increased resistance.