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Heat Resistance of Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris Spores as Affected by Various pH Values and Organic Acids

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Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris, a thermoacidophilic sporeformer, has caused spoilage of fruit juices which had been treated with thermal processes intended to commercially sterilize the juice. The objective of this research was to document the effect of pH, acid, and temperature on the heat resistance of spores of three fruit-juice isolates of A. acidoterrestris. The thermal resistance of spores of A. acidoterrestris strains VF, WAC, and IP were studied in a model fruit-juice system composed of 12% glucose and 30 mM of either citric, malic, or tartaric acid, adjusted to selected pH values ranging from 2.8 to 4.0. Decimal reduction times (D values) and inactivation rates were determined. Spores of strains VF and WAC were similarly resistant to heat under acidic conditions, while strain IP spores were less resistant. In the range of pH 2.8 to 4.0, a statistically significant effect of hydrogen ion concentration on heat resistance was observed at lower temperatures, but not at the higher temperatures. For example, at 91°C and pH 3.1 and 3.7, D values were 31.3 and 54.3 min, respectively, while at 97°C D values at pH 3.1 and 3.7 were 7.9 and 8.8 min, respectively. The type of acid did not significantly affect the heat resistance. The 97°C D values ranged from 5.9 to 10°C, depending on the acid, pH, and the strain. The models generated from this research can be used to determine adequate thermal processes, accounting for the acid type, pH, and temperature, to destroy A. acidoterrestris spores in beverages, since this organism is able to survive the typical hot-fill and hold process (2 min at 88 to 96°C) currently used to process fruit juice.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center and Department of Food Science, North Carolina State University, Box 7624, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7624, USA

Publication date: January 1, 1998

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