File(s) under permanent embargo

Active Packaging of Immobilized Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles Controls Campylobacter jejuni in Raw Chicken Meat

journal contribution
posted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by M J Hakeem, J Feng, Azadeh NilghazAzadeh Nilghaz, H C Seah, M E Konkel, X Lua
Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) are regarded as a safe and stable antimicrobial that can inactivate bacteria by several potential working mechanisms. We aimed to incorporate ZnO NPs into packaging material to control Campylobacter in raw chicken meat. ZnO NPs were first incorporated into three-dimensional (3D) paper tubes to identify the lethal concentration against Campylobacter jejuni, which was selected as the working concentration to develop 2D functionalized absorbing pads by an ultrasound-assisted dipping technique. The functionalized pad was placed underneath raw chicken meat to inactivate C. jejuni and the predominant chicken microbiota at 4°C within 8 days of storage. Immobilized ZnO NPs at 0.856 mg/cm2 reduced C. jejuni from ∼4 log CFU/25 g raw chicken meat to an undetectable level after 3 days of storage. Analysis by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy showed that the Zn level increased from 0.02 to 0.17 mg/cm2 in treated raw chicken meat. Scanning electron microscopy validated the absence of nanoparticle migration onto raw chicken meat after treatment. Inactivation of C. jejuni was associated with the increase of lactic acid produced by Lactobacillus in raw chicken meat in a pH-dependent manner. Less than 5% of Zn2+ was released from ZnO NPs at neutral pH, while up to 88% was released when the pH was <3.5 within 2 days. Whole-transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) analysis demonstrated a broad effect of ZnO NPs on genes involved in various cellular developmental processes as annotated by gene ontology. Taken together, the results indicate that functionalized absorbing pads inactivated C. jejuni in raw chicken meat by immobilized ZnO NPs along with the controllable released Zn2+.
IMPORTANCE Prevalence of Campylobacter in raw poultry remains a major food microbiological safety challenge. Novel mitigation strategies are required to ensure the safety and quality of poultry products. Active food packaging can control pathogens without directly adding antimicrobials into the food matrix and extend the food’s shelf life. The functionalized absorbing pad with ZnO NPs developed in this study was able to inactivate C. jejuni in raw chicken meat and keep the meat free from C. jejuni contamination during shelf life without any observed migration of nanoparticles. The controllable conversion of immobilized ZnO NPs to free Zn2+ makes this approach safe and eco-friendly and paves the way for developing a novel intervention strategy for other high-risk foods. Our study applied nanotechnology to exploit an effective approach for Campylobacter control in raw chicken meat products.



Applied and Environmental Microbiology





Article number



1 - 17


American Society for Microbiology


Washington, D.C.







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal