Microwave sterilization was performed to inactivate the spores of biofilms of Bacillus cereus involved in foodborne illness. The sterilization conditions, such as the amount of water and the operating temperature and treatment time, were optimized using statistical analysis based on 15 runs of experimental results designed by the Box-Behnken method. Statistical analysis showed that the optimal conditions for the inactivation of B. cereus biofilms were 14 ml of water, 108°C of temperature, and 15 min of treatment time. Interestingly, response surface plots showed that the amount of water is the most important factor for microwave sterilization under the present conditions. Complete inactivation by microwaves was achieved in 5 min, and the inactivation efficiency by microwave was obviously higher than that by conventional steam autoclave. Finally, confocal laser scanning microscopy images showed that the principal effect of microwave treatment was cell membrane disruption. Thus, this study can contribute to the development of a process to control food-associated pathogens.
- Bacillus cereus
- Response surface methodology