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Effect of L-Glucose and D-Tagatose on Bacterial Growth in Media and a Cooked Cured Ham Product

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Cured meats such as ham can undergo premature spoilage on account of the proliferation of lactic acid bacteria. This spoilage is generally evident from a milkiness in the purge of vacuum-packaged sliced ham. Although cured, most hams are at more risk of spoilage than other types of processed meat products because they contain considerably higher concentrations of carbohydrates, ∼2 to 7%, usually in the form of dextrose and corn syrup solids. Unfortunately, the meat industry is restricted with respect to the choice of preservatives and bactericidal agents. An alternative approach from these chemical compounds would be to use novel carbohydrate sources that are unrecognizable to spoilage bacteria. L-Glucose and D-tagatose are two such potential sugars, and in a series of tests in vitro, the ability of bacteria to utilize each as an energy source was compared to that of D-glucose. Results showed that both L-glucose and D-tagatose are not easily catabolized by a variety of lactic bacteria and not at all by pathogenic bacteria such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, and Yersinia enterocolitica. In a separate study, D-glucose, L-glucose, and D-tagatose were added to a chopped and formed ham formulation and the rate of bacterial growth was monitored. Analysis of data by a general linear model revealed that the growth rates of total aerobic and lactic acid bacteria were significantly (P < 0.05) slower for the formulation containing D-tagatose than those containing L- or D-glucose. Levels of Enterobacteriaceae were initially low and these bacteria did not significantly (P < 0.20) change in the presence of any of the sugars used in the meat formulations. Compared to the control sample containing D-glucose, the shelf life of the chopped and formed ham containing D-tagatose at 10°C was extended by 7 to 10 days. These results indicate that D-tagatose could deter the growth of microorganisms and inhibit the rate of spoilage in a meat product containing carbohydrates.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Saskatchewan Food Product Innovation Program, Department of Applied Microbiology and Food Science, University of Saskatchewan, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 5A8

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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