Viability Loss of Salmonella Species, Staphylococcus aureus, and Listeria monocytogenes in Complex Foods Heated by Microwave Energy

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The chemical composition of five foods (UHT milk, beef broth, pudding, cream sauce, and liquid whole egg) was examined to determine factors important in achieving uniform temperatures within foods heated in a 700 W microwave oven. Proximate analyses were performed on all food systems to relate their chemical composition to temperatures and to destruction of microwave-heated Salmonella species, Listeria monocytogenes Scott A and V7 and Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923. Microwave heating times were chosen such that the final mixed mean temperature achieved by systems was 60°C for Salmonella spp. and L. monocytogenes, and 65°C for S. aureus. The amount of destruction of Salmonella spp. varied from 3.17 log CFU/ml in UHT milk to 0.44 log CFU/ml in beef broth. L. monocytogenes strains incurred the greatest amount of destruction in pudding (2.39 log CFU/g), while the least amount of destruction was observed in cream sauce (1.63 log CFU/ml). There were no significant differences in the amount of destruction of S. aureus heated in the five foods. The pH and aw of these foods did not affect survival of thermally stressed Salmonella, L. monocytogenes, or S. aureus cells. Of the food components examined, sodium content was the primary influence on the uniformity of temperatures achieved within foods, and, in turn, on the survival of bacteria.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Food Science, University Park, PA 16802-2504, USA

Publication date: August 1, 1996

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