Adhesion of food-borne bacteria to stainless steel is reduced by food conditioning films

Nete Bernbom, Yin Ng, R.L. Jorgensen, A. Arpanaei, R.L. Meyer, P. Kingshott, Rebecca Munk Vejborg, Per Klemm, Lone Gram

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Preconditioning of stainless steel with aqueous cod muscle extract significantly impedes subsequent bacterial adhesion most likely due to repelling effects of fish tropomyosin. The purpose of this study was to determine if other food conditioning films decrease or enhance bacterial adhesion to stainless steel. Attachment of Pseudomonas fluorescens AH2 to stainless steel coated with water-soluble coatings of animal origin was significantly reduced as compared with noncoated stainless steel or stainless steel coated with laboratory substrate or extracts of plant origin. Coating with animal extracts also decreases adhesion of other food-relevant bacteria. The manipulation of adhesion was not attributable to growth inhibitory effects. Chemical analysis revealed that the stainless steels were covered by homogenous layers of adsorbed proteins. The presence of tropomyocin was indicated by appearance of proteins with similar molecular weight based in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, in several extracts that reduced adhesion but also extracts not containing this protein reduced bacterial adhesion, indicating that several molecular species may be involved in the phenomenon. It is a common perception that food materials facilitate bacterial adhesion to surfaces; however, this study demonstrates that aqueous coatings of food origin may actually reduce bacterial adhesion. Compounds from food extracts may potentially be used as nontoxic coatings to reduce bacterial attachment to inert surfaces.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1268-1279
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • coating
  • bacterial adhesion
  • anti-fouling
  • proteins
  • conditioning film


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