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Why Is It So Difficult to Eradicate Salmonella?

Feed contaminated by salmonella bacteria is a familiar and costly problem for the animal feed industry all over the world. Some types of salmonella have succeeded in establishing themselves in feed and fish meal factories and have persisted there for several years because it has proved impossible to eradicate them.

In her doctoral thesis, Lene Karine Vestby therefore studied why it is so difficult to get rid of salmonella once they have managed to establish themselves in Norwegian feed and fish meal factories. She discovered that salmonella bacteria efficient at forming biofilm (bacteria coating) survived for longer in the factories than those that had a reduced ability to form this coating. The ability to survive in factories therefore appears to be connected with the ability to form a biofilm and it would seem that removing biofilm is a necessary step towards eradicating salmonella from the factories.

In a biofilm, bacteria are well protected by a slime (matrix) which they produce themselves. Vestby has studied the effect of the nine most frequently used disinfectants in the Norwegian animal feed industry and found that the efficiency of the disinfectants is substantially reduced if the salmonella has managed to form a biofilm. The effect of the majority of the disinfectants was then no longer satisfactory, but a product containing 70% ethanol was the most efficient, followed by one called Virkon S.
 
 

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