Combined Effects of pH, Nisin, and Temperature on Growth and Survival of Psychrotrophic Bacillus cereus

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Abstract:

Growth of vegetative cells and outgrowth of spores of enterotoxigenic psychrotrophic Bacillus cereus in refrigerated minimally processed food products is a public health concern. A study was undertaken to determine the combined effects of pH, nisin, and temperature on growth and survival of 20 strains of B. cereus. The minimum growth temperatures in tryptic soy broth (pH 7.3) and brain heart infusion broth (BHI broth, pH 7.4) were 5°C for two strains and 8°C for five other strains. Vegetative cells of four of eight strains grew at 8°C in BHI broth (pH 6.01 and 6.57) containing 10 μg of nisin per ml. At 15°C, all strains grew at pH 5.53 to 6.57; three strains tolerated nisin at 50 μg/ml (pH 6.57), whereas two other strains had a maximum tolerance of 10 μg of nisin per ml. Tolerance of vegetative cells of B. cereus to nisin increased as the pH of the broth was increased from 5.53 to 6.01 and again to pH 6.57. Outgrowth of spores (six of six strains tested) was inhibited by 5 and 50 μg of nisin per ml at 8 and 15°C, respectively. At 15°C, outgrowth of spores of two strains occurred at pH 6.52 in BHI broth containing 10 μg of nisin per ml. The effectiveness of nisin in controlling the growth of psychrotrophic strains of B. cereus capable of causing human illness was more pronounced at 8°C than at 15°C and as the pH was decreased from 6.57 to 5.53. Studies to determine the effectiveness of nisin in controlling growth of psychrotrophic B. cereus in nonpasteurized foods held at refrigeration temperatures are warranted.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement, University of Georgia, Griffin, Georgia 30223-1797, USA

Publication date: May 1, 1998

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