This review discusses the application of several sorts of non-equilibrium gas plasma discharges for sterilization and disinfection treatments against spores or bioburden on/in the healthcare products or biological indicators. The basic properties of electrical discharges are briefly reviewed and thereafter the paper discusses the interactions of gas plasma with several sorts of biological systems such as bacteria, bacterial spores, endotoxins, lipid A and normal and abnormal prion proteins.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of low-pressure plasma treatment on seed disinfection and the possible mechanisms underlying this effect. Seed-borne disease refers to plant diseases that are transmitted by seeds; seed disinfection is an important technique for prevention of such diseases. In this study, the effectiveness of low-pressure plasma treatment in the inactivation of the seed-borne plant pathogenic bacterium, Xanthomonas campestris, inoculated on cruciferous seeds, was evaluated. The highest inactivation effect was observed when the treatment voltage and argon gas flow rate were 5.5 kV and 0.5 L/min, respectively. The viable cell number of X. campestris was 6.6 log cfu/seed before plasma treatment, and decreased by 3.9 log after 5 min of treatment and by 6.6 log after 40 min. Ethidium monoazide treatment and quantitative real-time PCR results indicated that both the cell membrane and target DNA region were damaged following 5 min of plasma treatment. Although both heat and ozone were generated during the plasma treatment, the contribution of both factors to the inactivation of X. campestris was small by itself in our low-pressure plasma system. Overall, we have shown that our low-pressure plasma system has great applicability to controlling plant pathogenic bacterium contamination of seeds.
The combined effect of several microbial control factors including gas barrier of containers, modified atmosphere packaging, food life extenders and storage temperature was discussed in order to determine the possibility for improving the shelf life for hamburger steak and deepfried chicken, representative ready-made dishes sold at convenience stores in Japan. Multiple measures including cold storage were effective in improving the shelf life of ready-made dishes. It was also suggested that storage tests for ready-made dishes should be conducted at 10℃, a practical temperature, to confirm the storable period, as well as at 15℃, an adequate abuse temperature, to confirm the effects of various microbial control factors. In the present study, the test group 4 (nitrogen + barrier containers + pH modifier) performed most favorably at both temperatures, indicating the efficacy of multiple means including "cold storage" in improving the shelf life (extending the consume-by date) of ready-made dishes. All strains isolated from the tested hamburger steak and deep-fried chicken were common food contaminant bacterial species.
Povidone-iodine solutions prepared to various concentrations (0.01, 0.1, 1 and 10%) with 0.2M phosphate buffer (pH 7.0) (PVP-I PB) were analyzed to determine their free iodine concentrations using membrane permeation cells, and their inactivation effects on three viruses (influenza A virus, poliovirus type 1 and adenovirus type 3) were examined. The free iodine concentrations in the 0.01-10% PVP-I PB were determined to be 1.84, 4.88, 1.58 and 0.17 ppm (approximate values), respectively, with the maximum obtained for the 0.1% solution. The virucidal efficacy of these PVP-I PB against poliovirus type 1 and adenovirus type 3 was found to be generally dependent on free iodine concentration, with the 0.1% solution being the most effective. Influenza A virus was inactivated with an action time of 15 s at all four concentrations examined. The results of this study suggested an association between free iodine concentration and virucidal efficacy for the 0.01-10% PVP-I PB.
A purple non-sulfur photosynthetic bacterium (PNSB), PSB Strain A was isolated from swine sewage wastewater. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that PSB Strain A was most closely related to Rhodopseudomonas faecalis. Growth of the isolate under anaerobic-light conditions with a variety of carbon sources was investigated. Both PSB Strain A and the standard strain showed good growth with acetic acid, propionic acid, and n-butyric acid at a concentration of 20 mM. At the high concentration of 200 mM, PSB Strain A showed better growth in pyruvate, acetate, propionate, succinate and malate. By applying PSB Strain A to treat swine sewage wastewater, the concentration of VFAs, which were acetic acid and propionic acid, decreased from 158.0 mM to 120.2±2.9 mM, and 14.9 mM to 9.3±0.9 mM, respectively, after 216-h incubation. After 330-h incubation, the concentrations of TOC and ammonia nitrogen dropped from 4508.0 mg/L to 3104.0±451.5 mg/L, and 629.7 mg/L to 424.1±7.4 mg/L, respectively. The isolated PSB Strain A showed almost the same efficiency compared with the standard strain on the removal of VFAs and TOC. The results suggest the possibility of using the isolated strain to treat swine sewage wastewater.
Fate of Escherichia coli O157 cells was evaluated when inoculated into each step after production of lightly pickled Chinese cabbage. The efficacy of surface sterilization by 100 mg/L of chlorine water for 10 min on raw leaves (6.0 log CFU/g) was 2.2 log CFU/g reduction. No meaningful change of the population of E. coli O157 (3.5 log CFU/g to 1.5 log MPN/g) contaminated into 19 kinds of products was observed. These results indicated the difficulty of estimating the viable count of the cells between contaminated on farms and further processing and storage steps. The population of E. coli O157 (3 log CFU/g to 1 log MPN/g) inoculated into the Chinese cabbage products was reduced less than 0.6 log CFU/g after 2 h-incubation at 37℃ in artificial gastric juice. Prevention from initial contamination of E. coli O157 on the ingredients of Chinese cabbage products is important to reduce the risk of food poisoning because the reduction of the bacterial counts after processing and consumption are limited.
RNA extracts were analyzed with a nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) - nucleic acid chromatography and a reverse transcription-quantitative PCR assay (RT-qPCR) based on the TaqMan probe for identification of cereulide-producing Bacillus cereus. All 100 emetic B. cereus strains were found to give positive results, but 50 diarrheal B. cereus strains and other bacterial species showed negative results in the NASBA-chromatography. That is, the assay could selectively identify the emetic strains among B. cereus strains. Also, the B. cereus contents of more than 107 cfu/ml were required for the identification of the cereulide-producing strains in this assay. In qRT-PCR assays, all 100 emetic type strains of B. cereus produced 102 – 104 copy numbers per ng of the RNA preparation, and the strains produced 104 copies including ones which had the high vacuolation activities of HEp-2 cells.
The characteristics of 11 strains of Stx1-producing and Stx2-non-producing STEC O103：H2 were analyzed to investigate the differences in virulence in a single serotype of Shiga toxin (Stx) -producing Escherichia coli (STEC). Differences in the cell-adhesion activity to Caco-2 cells were observed among the strains. The activity of the one strain, isolated from a patient with hemolytic uremic syndrome was 4-20-fold higher than those of the other strains. Although the strains with high cell-adhesion activity showed high expressions of eae, espB, espD, and tir in the locus of enterocyte effacement related with cell-adhesion, those were not specific for this strain. In addition, the Stx1 production level of the strain was not particularly high. It was indicated that the high adhesion activity might be a potential factor to associate serious symptom.