Assessment of the antibacterial activity of a triclosan-containing cutting board

Trond Møretrø*, Gunn S. Høiby-Pettersen, Olivier Habimana, Even Heir, Solveig Langsrud

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Several studies have shown that consumers may not clean cutting boards properly between preparation of raw and cooked meat. Cutting boards may therefore act as sources for contamination of cooked meat or other ready-to-eat foods with pathogenic and spoilage bacteria. The aim of the work was to investigate if cutting boards containing the antimicrobial compound triclosan can reduce the viability of bacteria, thus acting as a hygiene barrier. Survival and growth of food pathogens and spoilage bacteria on two cutting boards without antimicrobials and a commercial cutting board containing triclosan were tested. No difference in bacterial counts on cutting boards without and with triclosan was found after exposure to naturally contaminated chicken filets for one hour. Pathogenic and spoilage bacteria were inoculated on coupons (6.7-7. log per coupon) of cutting boards and incubated at 25 °C at controlled relative humidity for 24 and 72. h. At a relative humidity of 100%, growth of Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) and Serrratia spp. was observed and no antibacterial effect of the triclosan-containing board was found except for against Listeria monocytogenes. At lower humidity (70% RH) less growth was found on the triclosan-containing cutting board than untreated boards after 24. h. After 72. h of incubation, cell counts were reduced on triclosan-containing boards, with the most pronounced antibacterial effects observed against Salmonella, S. aureus and CNS. For S. aureus and Salmonella it was found that when a lower initial cell count was applied (3.5. log per coupon), the triclosan-containing board had an antibacterial effect under humid conditions, as well as a more pronounced antibacterial effect under dry conditions.An agar overlay assay showed that triclosan migrated out of the coupons. Repeated washing of the triclosan-containing cutting boards reduced the antibacterial effect, thus the amount of triclosan available on the surface seemed to be limited. In conclusion, using triclosan-containing cutting boards as a hygienic barrier may only work under certain conditions (low humidity, long exposure time, and clean conditions) and not against all genera of bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-162
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibacterial
  • Cutting board
  • Hygiene
  • Microban
  • Triclosan


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