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Evaluation of Enzymatic Cleaning on Food Processing Installations and Food Products Bacterial Microflora

Biofilms are a permanent source of contamination in food industries and could harbor various types of microorganisms, such as spoiling bacteria. New strategies, such as enzymatic cleaning, have been proposed to eradicate them. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of enzymatic cleaning on the microbial flora of installations in a processing food industry and of the final food product throughout its shelf life. A total of 189 samples were analyzed by classical microbiology and 16S rDNA metagenetics, including surface samples, cleaning-in-place (CIP) systems, and food products (at D0, Dend of the shelf life, and Dend of the shelf life +7 days). Some surfaces were highly contaminated with spoiling bacteria during conventional cleaning while the concentration of the total flora decreased during enzymatic cleaning. Although the closed circuits were cleaned with conventional cleaning before enzymatic cleaning, there was a significant release of microorganisms from some parts of the installations during enzymatic treatment. A significant difference in the total flora in the food products at the beginning of the shelf life was observed during enzymatic cleaning compared to the conventional cleaning, with a reduction of up to 2 log CFU/g. Metagenetic analysis of the food samples at the end of their shelf life showed significant differences in bacterial flora between conventional and enzymatic cleaning, with a decrease of spoiling bacteria (Leuconostoc sp.). Enzymatic cleaning has improved the hygiene of the food processing instillations and the microbial quality of the food throughout the shelf life. Although enzymatic cleaning is not yet commonly used in the food industry, it should be considered in combination with conventional sanitizing methods to improve plant hygiene.


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