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Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in broth and processed salami as influenced by pH, water activity, and temperature and suitability of media for its recovery



Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in broth and processed salami as influenced by pH, water activity, and temperature and suitability of media for its recovery



Applied and Environmental Microbiology 62(8): 2735-2740



The survival of unheated and heat-stressed (52 degrees C, 30 min) cells of Escherichia coli O157:H7 inoculated into tryptic soy broth (TSB) adjusted to various pHs (6.0, 5.4, and 4.8) with lactic acid and various water activities (aws) (0.99, 0.95, and 0.90) with NaCl and incubated at 5, 20, 30, and 37 degrees C was studied. The performance of tryptic soy agar (TSA), modified sorbitol MacConkey agar (MSMA), and modified eosin methylene blue agar in supporting colony development of incubated cells was determined. Unheated cells of E. coli O157:H7 grew to population densities of 10(8) to 10(9) CFU ml(-1) in TSB (pHs 6.0 and 5.4) at an a(w) of 0.99. Regardless of the pH and a(w) of TSB, survival of E. coli O157:H7 was better at 5 degrees C than at 20 or 30 degrees C. At 30 degrees C, inactivation or inhibition of growth was enhanced by reduction of the a(w) and pH. A decrease in the a(w) (0.99 to 0.90) of TSB in which the cells were heated at 52 degrees C for 30 min resulted in a 1.5-log(10) reduction in the number of E. coli O157:H7 cells recovered on TSA; pH did not significantly affect the viability of cells. Recovery was significantly reduced on MSMA when cells were heated in TSB with reduced pH or a(w) for an increased length of time. With the exception of TSB (a(w), 0.90) incubated at 37 degrees C, heat-stressed cells survived for 24 h in recovery broth. TSB (a(w), 0.99) at pH 6.0 or 5.4 supported growth of E. coli O157:H7 cells at 20 or 37 degrees C, but higher numbers of heated cells survived at 5 or 20 degrees C than at 37 degrees C. The ability of unheated and heat-stressed E. coli O157:H7 cells to survive or grow as affected by the a(w) of processed salami was investigated. Decreases of about 1 to 2 log(10) CFU g(-1) occurred soon after inoculation of salami (pHs 4.86 and 4.63 at a(w)s of 0.95 and 0.90, respectively). Regardless of the physiological condition of the cells before inoculation into processed salami at an a(w) of either 0.95 or 0.90, decreases in populations occurred during storage at 5 or 20 degrees C for 32 days. If present at lesser than or equal to 100 CFU g(-1), E. coli O157:H7 would unlikely survive storage at 5 degrees C for 32 days. However, contamination of salami with E. coli O157:H7 at 10(4) to 10(5) CFU g(-1) after processing would pose a health risk to consumers for more than 32 days if storage were at 5 degrees C. Regardless of the treatment conditions, performance of the media tested for the recovery of E. coli O157:H7 cells followed the order TSA > modified eosin methylene blue agar > MSMA.

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Accession: 002973085

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PMID: 8702265


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