Development of a method to determine the effectiveness of cleaning agents in removal of biofilm derived spores in milking system

Ievgeniia Ostrov, Avraham Harel, Solange Bernstein, Doron Steinberg, Moshe Shemesh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Microbial damages caused by biofilm forming bacteria in the dairy industry are a fundamental threat to safety and quality of dairy products. In order to ensure the optimal level of equipment hygiene in the dairy industry, it is necessary to determine the biofilm removal efficiency of cleaning agents used for cleaning-in-place (CIP) procedures. However, currently there is no standard method available for evaluating and comparing cleaning agents for use in CIP procedures in the dairy industry under realistic conditions. The present study aims to establish a CIP model system to evaluate the effectiveness of cleaning agents in removal of biofilm derived spores from the surfaces of stainless steel which is the predominant substrate in milking equipment on dairy farms. The system is based on Bacillus subtilis spores surrounded with exopolymeric substances produced by bacteria during biofilm formation. The spores applied on sampling plates were mounted on T-junctions protruding 1.5-11-times the milk pipe diameter from the main loop to resemble different levels of cleaning difficulty. The cleaning tests were conducted using commercial alkaline detergents and caustic soda at conditions which are relevant to actual farm environment. The spores removal effect was evaluated by comparing the number of viable spores (attached to sampling plates) before and after cleaning. Evaluation of the cleaning and disinfecting effect of cleaning agents toward biofilm derived spores was further performed, which indicates whether spores elimination effect of an agent is due to killing the spores or removing them from the surfaces of dairy equipment. Moreover, it was established that the presence of extracellular matrix is an important factor responsible for high level of cleaning difficulty characteristic for surface attached spores. In overall, the results of this study suggest that the developed model system simulates actual farm conditions for quantitative evaluation of the effectiveness of cleaning and disinfecting agents and their cleaning and disinfecting effect on removal of biofilm derived spores.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1498
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberSEP
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
� 2016 Ostrov, Harel, Bernstein, Steinberg and Shemesh.


  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Biofilm
  • Biofilm derived spores
  • Cleaning-in-place
  • Dairy industry
  • Spores removal effectiveness


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