ATP-synthesis capacity of pulsed light-exposed bacteria
The ability of four different bacteria to synthesize new ATP upon exposure to different doses of pulsed-light (PL) irradiation was investigated. The bacterial cells were PL treated on a gel surface, resuspended in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) and subsequently incubated in Tryptic Soy Broth (TSB) at 37 °C. Cellular ATP levels were monitored during a 2 h incubation period and compared to the respective colony count data. Although PL affected ATP production in a dose dependent manner, the results showed that bacteria, which had rendered unculturable after PL exposure, are still capable of generating significant quantities of ATP. Escherichia coli and Listeria innocua proved to be more resistant to PL than Salmonella enterica and Staphylococcus aureus, which was supported by the colony count data and the ATP synthesis capacity. These findings underline that bacteria undetectable by culture-based methods may still show cellular activity and synthesize new ATP.