Comparison of adhesion of the food spoilage bacterium Shewanella putrefaciens to stainless steel and silver surfaces

Mette Hjelm, Lisbeth Rischel Hilbert, Per Møller, Lone Gram

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The aim of this study is to compare the number of attached bacteria, Shewanella putrefaciens, on stainless steel with different silver surfaces. Thus evaluating if silver surfaces could contribute to a higher hygienic status in the food industry. Bacterial adhesion to three types of silver surfaces (new silver, tarnished silver and sulphide treated silver) was compared to adhesion to stainless steel (AISI 316). Numbers of attached bacteria (cfu cm-2) were estimated using the Malthus indirect conductance method. A lower number of attached bacteria were measured on new silver surfaces compared to stainless steel for samples taken after 24 hours. However this was not significant (P > 0.05). The numbers of attached bacteria were consistently lower when tarnished silver surfaces were compared to stainless steel and some, but not all, experiments showed statistically significant. A difference of more than one log unit in bacterial numbers on the two types of materials was observed, but for most samples the difference was within one log unit. Treating new silver with sulphide to try to reproduce a tarnished silver surface did not result in a similar lowering of adhering cells when compared to steel (P > 0.05). To conclude new or tarnished silver surfaces caused a slight reduction in numbers of attached bacteria, however, the difference was only sometimes statistically different.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)903-911
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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