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Influence of Incubation Conditions on Survival and Acid Tolerance Response of Escherichia coli O157: H7 and Non-O157:H7 Isolates Exposed to Acetic Acid

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The increasing frequency of Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreaks, especially in acidic foods, raises the concern of an acid tolerance response (ATR). Organic acids can be present in processed and preserved foods: shifts in the acid levels of foods due to these acids may allow E. coli to adapt and later tolerate pH levels that would normally inactivate the organism. The effect of temperature and agitation on the ATRs of three E. coli O157:H7 and two non-O157:H7 isolates were determined. Triggered at pH 5.0, the adaptive system of the ATR allowed for up to nearly 1,000-fold enhanced survival of E. coli O157:H7 cells in some cases compared to survival of nonadapted cells at pH 4.0. E. coli O157:H7 isolates revealed greater acid tolerance responses when incubated statically at 32°C, whereas the non-O157:H7 E. coli isolates exhibited a greater acid tolerance response with orbital agitation at 25°C. The magnitude of response changed over the incubation period.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement, Department of Food Science and Technology, The University of Georgia, Food Science Building, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA

Publication date: May 1, 1998

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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