The goal of this project is to develop generally recognized as safe (GRAS) antimicrobial coatings that can be applied directly to foods or foods contact surfaces. This strategy is expected to have a significant positive impact on food safety and public health, since it will provide solutions for minimizing pathogen contamination of foods, thus reducing the incidence of foodborne illness.<P> The following specific objectives are proposed: <P> Objective 1: Screen antimicrobials that are effective against Listeria monocytogenes <P> Objective 2: Develop encapsulation systems that will allow the use of the selected antimicrobials as coatings <P> Objective 3: Evaluate the release of antimicrobials from the coatings and the effect of environmental conditions on their antilisterial activity <P> The main outcome of this project will be represented by antimicrobial food contact substrates with nanoscale features and the validation data.
Non-Technical Summary: <BR>Foodborne illnesses continue to be a serious public health threat in the United States. Many of the microbial pathogens responsible for foodborne illnesses, including Listeria monocytogenes, reach foods by surface contamination. The development of antimicrobial coatings that are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and can be applied directly to foods or foods contact surfaces can be an efficient and ecologically friendly method to fight microbial contaminants in the food sector. This project will focus on developing antimicrobial coatings and films that are highly effective against Listeria monocytogenes and can be applied on food packaging or other food contact surfaces. The developed antimicrobial coatings could become an important food safety intervention tool for solid foods, including minimally processed foods and vegetables, cut cheese, or ready to eat meat products. Such an approach has also the potential of being used against a wider variety of foods and microbial hazards in the future. <P> Approach: <BR> The following choices of antimicrobials are proposed: nisin (a bacteriocin), Mundticin L ( a strong anti-listeria bacteriocin with good heat stability), and Thurincin H (a broad spectrum Gram positive bacteriocin and good heat stability). These antimicrobials will be applied to selected food or food contact surfaces as a water soluble polymer film with incorporated antimicrobial. This will allow the antimicrobial to be released upon hydration of the polymer film when coming into contact with the food. We will use a cast chitosan film to incorporate antimicrobial, since this has been shown before to maintain a high antimicrobial activity of nisin. The release of the antimicrobial from the coatings will be evaluated under controlled pH, temperature and moisture conditions. The substrates will be exposed to the challenge microorganism (Listeria), then viability of the challenge microorganism evaluated.