The development of bacterial biofilms on stainless steel (SS) surfaces poses a great threat to the quality of milk and other dairy products as the biofilm-embedded bacteria can survive thermal processing. Established biofilms offer cleaning challenges because they are resistant to most of the regular cleaning protocols. Sporeforming thermoduric organisms entrapped within biofilm matrix can also form heat-resistant spores, and may result in a long-term persistent contamination. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of different nonfouling coatings [AMC 18 (Advanced Materials Components Express, Lemont, PA), Dursan (SilcoTek Corporation, Bellefonte, PA), Ni-P-polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, Avtec Finishing Systems, New Hope, MN), and Lectrofluor 641 (General Magnaplate Corporation, Linden, NJ)] on SS plate heat exchanger surfaces, to resist the formation of bacterial biofilms. It was hypothesized that modified SS surfaces would promote a lesser amount of deposit buildup and bacterial adhesion as compared with the native SS surface. Vegetative cells of aerobic sporeformers, Geobacillus stearothermophilus (ATCC 15952), Bacillus licheniformis (ATCC 6634), and Bacillus sporothermodurans (DSM 10599), were used to study biofilm development on the modified and native SS surfaces. The adherence of these organisms, though influenced by surface energy and hydrophobicity, exhibited no apparent relation with surface roughness. The Ni-P-PTFE coating exhibited the least bacterial attachment and milk solid deposition, and hence, was the most resistant to biofilm formation. Scanning electron microscopy, which was used to visualize the extent of biofilm formation on modified and native SS surfaces, also revealed lower bacterial attachment on the Ni-P-PTFE as compared with the native SS surface. This study thus provides evidence of reduced biofilm formation on the modified SS surfaces.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was financially supported by Dairy Management Inc. (Rosemont, IL) and administered by the Dairy Research Institute (Rosemont, IL) . The authors also acknowledge the support of the Agricultural Experimentation Station, South Dakota State University, in conducting this study, and the Electrical Engineering Department, South Dakota State University, for carrying out scanning electron microscope work. AGC Heat Transfer (Portland, OR) is also acknowledged for donating the SS coupons. The results and views expressed in this study by no means promote any one coating over other or for any commercial use. The available coatings were analyzed for their resistance to develop biofilms and bacterial adhesion studies under laboratory conditions for academic purposes only.
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