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Effect of pH and CO2 on Growth and Toxin Production by Clostridium botulinum in English-Style Crumpets Packaged under Modified Atmospheres

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The effect of pH and CO2 on both growth of and toxin production by Clostridium botulinum in English-style crumpets, packaged under modified atmospheres was investigated using a 2 × 2 factorial experiment. English-style crumpets (water activity, 0.990; pH 6.5 and 8.3) were inoculated with C. botulinum spores types A and proteolytic B (500 spores/g), packaged in either 60% CO2 (balance N2 ) or 100% CO2, stored at ambient temperature (25°C), and monitored daily for toxicity. Toxin was detected after 4 days in crumpets packaged in 60% CO2, irrespective of initial product pH. Toxin production was delayed 1.5 to 3 days in crumpets packaged under 100% CO2. Analysis of variance indicated a significant interaction effect of pH and %CO2 on time of earliest toxin detection. Delay of toxin production was greatest for high pH (8.3) crumpets. All products were organoleptically acceptable at the time of toxigenesis, and therefore, high moisture–high pH bakery products, if contaminated with spores of C. botulinum, could become hazardous if packaged in atmospheres containing CO2.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science and Agricultural Chemistry, McGill University, Macdonald Campus, 21,111 Lakeshore Road, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, Canada H9X 3V9 2: Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Food Directorate, Health Protection Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0L2

Publication date: October 1, 1999

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