Inhibition of Bacillus Cereus and Bacillus Weihenstephanensis in Raw Vegetables by Application of Washing Solutions Containing

Inhibition of Bacillus cereus and Bacillus weihenstephanensis in raw vegetables by application of washing solutions containing enterocin AS-48 alone and in combination with other antimicrobials.

Food Microbiol. 2008 Sep;25(6):762-70. Epub 2008 May 13

Cobo Molinos A, Abriouel H, Lucas López R, Ben Omar N, Valdivia E, Gálvez A.

Area de Microbiología, Departamento de Ciencias de la Salud, Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales, Universidad de Jaén, 23071 Jaén, Spain.


Enterocin AS-48 is a broad-spectrum cyclic antimicrobial peptide produced by Enterococcus faecalis. In the present study, the bacteriocin was tested alone and in combination with other antimicrobials for decontamination of Bacillus inoculated on alfalfa, soybean sprouts and green asparagus. Washing with enterocin AS-48 solutions reduced viable cell counts of Bacillus cereus and Bacillus weihenstephanensis by 1.0-1.5 and by 1.5-2.38 log units right after application of treatment, respectively. In both cases, the bacteriocin was effective in reducing the remaining viable population below detection levels during further storage of the samples at 6 degrees C, but failed to prevent regrowth in samples stored at 15 or 22 degrees C. Application of washing treatments containing enterocin AS-48 in combination with several other antimicrobials and sanitizers (cinnamic and hydrocinnamic acids, carvacrol, polyphosphoric acid, peracetic acid, hexadecylpyridinium chloride and sodium hypochlorite) greatly enhanced the bactericidal effects. The combinations of AS-48 and sodium hypochlorite, peracetic acid or hexadecylpyridinium chloride provided the best results. After application of the combined treatments on alfalfa sprouts contaminated with B. cereus or with B. weihenstephanensis, viable bacilli were not detected or remained at very low concentrations in the treated samples during a 1-week storage period at 15 degrees C. Inhibition of B. cereus by in situ produced bacteriocin was tested by cocultivation with the AS-48 producer strain E. faecalis A-48-32 inoculated on soybean sprouts. Strain A-48-32 was able to grow and produce bacteriocin on sprouts both at 15 and 22 degrees C. At 15 degrees C, growth of B. cereus was completely inhibited in the cocultures, while a much more limited effect was observed at 22 degrees C. The results obtained for washing treatments are very encouraging for the application of enterocin AS-48 in the decontamination of sprouts. Application of washing treatments containing AS-48 alone can serve to reduce viable cell counts of bacilli in samples stored under refrigeration, while application of combined treatments should be recommended to avoid proliferation of the surviving bacilli under temperature-abuse conditions.