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Validation of Predictive Mathematical Models Describing Growth of Staphylococcus aureus

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An investigation was performed on the growth of Staphylococcus aureus in a commercially available, sterile, homogeneous food at 12°C with 1.2 and 5.9% NaCl; at 25°C with 10.4% NaCl; and at 20 and 35°C with 1.2, 5.3, 12.5, and 15.8% NaCl; over a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5. Growth data were fitted to the Gompertz equation and the resulting growth kinetics were compared with predictions from the Pathogen Modeling Program (PMP) and Food MicroModel (FMM). For the PMP, predicted lag-phase durations varied from 0.5 to 130 h longer than the observed values. In general, close agreement with growth rates was obtained but there was a 10-fold difference in one case. For FMM, predicted lag-phase durations ranged from 27 h shorter to 47 h longer than the observed values. Again, close agreement with growth rates was obtained, but in one case a fivefold difference was observed. In general, for the sterile foods used under the growth conditions tested, the models underestimated the growth of S. aureus. This implies that while the models can be used as a guide to indicate growth rates in foods they should not be relied upon as the sole determinant of the product's safety.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National Food Processors Association, 1401 New York Ave, N. W., Washington, D.C. 20005, USA

Publication date: January 1, 1996

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