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Heat Resistance of Salmonella weltevreden in Low-Moisture Environments

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The heat resistance of Salmonella weltevreden inoculated into flour and heated in hot air was determined for (a) an initial water activity (aw) range of 0.20 to 0.60 prior to heating, (b) a range of storage relative humidities of 6.0 to 35.5% prior to heating, and (c) temperatures of 57 to 77°C. The death curves obtained were biphasic, demonstrating an initial rapid decline in the numbers of survivors (1.0- to 1.5-log reductions) during the first 5 to 10 min of heating for all the temperature-water activity combinations tested. Following this initial rapid decline in the number of cells, a linear survivor curve was obtained where inactivation occurred at a slower rate. The initial decline in survivors coincided with a rapid decrease in the water activity of all the samples tested. Irrespective of the initial water activity level in the samples prior to heating, the aw decreased to <0.2 during the first 5 to 10 min of heating. The D values obtained for these experimental parameters ranged from a D 60–62 of 875 min at an initial aw of 0.4 to a D 63–65 of 29 min at an initial aw of 0.5. The results demonstrated that, for any temperature, as the initial water activity of the sample prior to heating decreased, the heat resistance of the cells increased. The z values obtained from these data ranged from 15.2 to 53.9°C. The relative humidity during storage prior to heating did not appear to have a significant effect on the heat resistance of S. weltevreden in flour. These results demonstrate that the amount of available water in foods that are considered to be "dry" (i.e., with a water activity less than 0.60) will significantly influence the effectiveness of the heat processing of foods and, in addition to the temperature, the aw prior to heating is a critical controlling factor during these processes.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Microbiology, Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association, Chipping Campden, Glos, GL55 6LD, United Kingdom

Publication date: August 1, 1998

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