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Retention of Acid Tolerance and Acid Shock Responses of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Non-O157:H7 Isolates

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Escherichia coli O157:H7 and non-O157:H7 survival due to induced acid tolerance or shock responses when exposed to lactic acid over time was studied. Induced acid tolerance or shock responses could allow pathogens, like E. coli O157:H7, to survive acidic conditions in foods during storage. Escherichia coli O157:H7 isolates 932 and E009 and a non-O157:H7 strain, 23716, were grown to stationary phase at 32°C and exposed to one of two treatments: acid shock or acid adaption. Acid-shocked cells were exposed to lactic acid at pH 3.5 or 4.0. Acid-adapted cells were exposed to pH 5.5 for an adaptation period and then exposed to an acid challenge of pH 3.5 or 4.0. Samples were incubated at either 25 or 32°C and survival of the isolates at 0, 3, 24, 48, 72, and 168 h (7 days), 336 h (14 days), and 504 h (21 days) was determined. All three isolates survived longer with larger populations at pH 4.0 and 25°C compared to the other treatments. In cases where a difference was observed in the two responses, acid-shocked cells had a higher survival rate (typically less than 2 logs) than acid-adapted cells in most cases. Isolate differences were observed at the two pH and temperature levels. Isolate 932 was the most resistant to the acidic conditions during the incubation period, E009 intermediate, and strain 23716 was the most sensitive.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7610, USA; Boskovich Farms, Inc., P.O. Box 1352, Oxnard, CA 93032 2: Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7610, USA 3: Department of Poultry Science, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7610, USA

Publication date: December 1, 1997

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