Jessika Nowak

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2017
College of Health


Thesis Title
Identification and understanding the roles of biofilm formation-related genes in Listeria monocytogenes isolated from seafood

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne bacterium capable of causing a disease with a high fatality rate. Contamination of food with L. monocytogenes in food processing plants is believed to occur primarily through formation of biofilms and subsequent dispersal. The formation of biofilms allows the organism to withstand and survive harsh environmental conditions which leads to its persistence in food processing plants. Ms Nowak investigated the biofilm formation ability of a persistent L. monocytogenes strain isolated from a seafood processing plant using molecular and microbiological tools. A mutant library screen revealed 27 genes to be associated with biofilm formation, some of which have not been associated with biofilm formation in L. monocytogenes before. Increased magnesium concentration and other environmental factors including temperature change and nutrient availability were found to influence the biofilm structure and amount significantly. Her findings contributed to a better understanding of the genes’ involvement in biofilm formation.

Professor Steve Flint
Dr Cristina Cruz
Mr Graham Fletcher
Associate Professor Jon Palmer