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Description of growth of Clostridium perfringens in cooked beef with multiple linear models

Description of growth of Clostridium perfringens in cooked beef with multiple linear models

Food microbiology 19(6): 577-587

ISSN/ISBN: 0740-0020

DOI: 10.1006/fmic.2002.0509

The traditional linear model used in food microbiology employs three linear segments to describe the process of food spoilage and categorize a growth curve into three phases--lag, exponential, and stationary. The linear model is accurate only within certain portions of each phase of a growth process, and can underestimate or overestimate the transitional phases. While sigmoid functions (such as the Gompertz and logistic equations) can be used to fit the experimental growth data more accurately, they fail to indicate the physiological state of bacterial growth. The objective of this paper was to develop a new methodology to describe and categorize accurately the bacterial growth as a process using Clostridium perfringens as a test organism. This methodology utilized five linear segments represented by five linear models to categorize a bacterial growth process into lag, first transitional, exponential, second transitional, and stationary phases. Growth curves described in this paper using multiple linear models were more accurate than the traditional three-segment linear models, and were statistically equivalent to the Gompertz models. With the growth rates of transitional phases set to 1/3 of the exponential phase, the durations of the lag, first transitional, exponential, and second transitional phases in a growth curve described by the new method were correlated linearly. Since this linear relationship was independent of temperature, a complete five-segment growth curve could be generated from the maximum growth rate and a known duration of the first four growth phases. Moreover, the lag phase duration defined by the new method was a linear function of the traditional lag phase duration calculated from the Gompertz equation. With this relationship, the two traditional parameters (lag phase and maximum growth rate) used in a three-segment linear model can be used to generate a more accurate five-segment linear growth curve without involving complicated mathematical calculations.

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