Comparison of the stress response of Listeria monocytogenes strains with sprout colonization

J Food Prot. 2008 Aug;71(8):1556-62

Gorski L, Flaherty D, Duhé JM.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, California 94710, USA.


Twenty-nine strains of the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes were tested for their ability to colonize alfalfa, radish, and broccoli sprouts and their capacity to withstand acid and oxidative stress, two stresses common to the sprouting environment. Wide variation in the ability of different strains to colonize alfalfa sprouts were confirmed, but the variations among radish and broccoli sprouts were not as large. With a few exceptions, strains that were poor colonizers of alfalfa tended to be among the poorer colonizers of radish and broccoli and vice versa. The strains also were variable in their resistance to both acid and oxidative stress. Statistical analysis revealed no correlation between acid stress and sprout colonization, but there was a positive correlation between resistance to oxidative stress and colonization of all three sprout types. Although the response to oxidative stress is important for L. monocytogenes virulence, it also may be important for life outside of a host.