Acidic and osmotic treatments are part of hurdle systems to control pathogens such as Salmonella
in food. In the current study, Salmonella enterica
isolates previously shown to differ in their ability to form biofilms were grown in diluted tryptic soy broth (TSB) (1:5 dilution in distilled water) and subsequently exposed to phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) adjusted to pH 3.0 with HCl, PBS adjusted to pH 3.9 with acetic acid or rice vinegar diluted 1:15 with distilled water (pH 3.9). Cells grown in diluted TSB were also exposed to distilled water, pH 7.6, containing 5 M NaCl. No differences in survival upon exposure to PBS adjusted to pH 3.0 with HCl or distilled water containing high salt were observed between the isolates; however, exposure to acetic acid and rice vinegar resulted in lower survival levels of isolates previously shown to be poor biofilm formers. The numbers (log10
) of surviving cells after exposure for 36 hr to acetic acid and rice vinegar were 4.43 ± 0.24 vs. 2.27 ± 0.87 (P
<0.05) and 5.19 ± 0.12 vs. 2.33 ± 0.93 (P
<0.05) for isolates with a high vs. low biofilm-forming ability. The survival data could be fitted with the Weibull model. The data suggest that the ability of Salmonella
strains to survive in the presence of acetic acid and rice vinegar parallels their ability to form biofilms. Thus, Salmonella
with a high biofilm-formation capability might be more difficult to kill with acetic acid found in foods or cleaning solutions.