Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen, which causes listeriosis disease among humans and other animal species. Infections in humans mainly occur in immunocompromised individuals and are caused by the consumption of ready-to-eat and raw food products contaminated with the pathogen. To ensure survival in nature, L. monocytogenes easily adapts to different environmental conditions, and that justifies the hurdles to prevent bacterial growth inside the food chain. Exposure to a single or multiple sublethal stresses, as those impaired by food processing, food matrices, and the gastrointestinal tract, can enhance tolerance of L. monocytogenes to stresses and increase its survival and pathogenesis. This chapter summarizes the current information on the adaptive response of L. monocytogenes to different stresses, namely (1) cold stress, (2) acid stress, (3) osmotic stress, (4) desiccation stress, and (5) high hydrostatic pressure, and the impact of these stresses on L. monocytogenes virulence. The objective is to provide the background information that is necessary for the development of scientifically sound control strategies to improve food safety and to reduce the uncertainty of microbial risk assessments, associated to limited knowledge on the behavior of cells capable to adapt and survive stresses.
Part of the book: Listeria Monocytogenes