Growing microorganisms on dry surfaces, which results in exposure to low water activity (aw), may change their normal morphology and physiological activity. In this study, the morphological changes and cell viability of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis challenged to low a w were analyzed. The results indicated that exposure to reduced aw induced filamentation of the cells. The amount of filamentous cells at aw 0.94 was up to 90% of the total number of cells. Surviving filamentous cells maintained their membrane integrity after exposure to low aw for 21 days. Furthermore, cells prechallenged to low a w, obtained with an ionic humectant, demonstrated higher resistance to sodium hypochlorite than control cells. These resistant cells are able to survive disinfection more efficiently and can therefore cause contamination of foods coming in contact with surfaces. This points to the need for increased attention to cleaning of surfaces in household environments and disinfection procedures in processing plants. Copyright ©, International Association for Food Protection.