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Detection of Guaiacol Produced by Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris in Apple Juice by Sensory and Chromatographic Analyses, and Comparison with Spore and Vegetative Cell Populations

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Spoilage of fruit juice by Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris is characterized by a distinct medicinal or antiseptic off odor attributed to guaiacol, a metabolic by product of the bacterium. Detection of low populations of A. acidoterrestris that would precede sensory detection of guaiacol would enable juice processors to select appropriate processing and storage conditions that would minimize or eliminate spoilage. The objective of this study was to determine the recognition threshold of guaiacol in apple juice by sensory analysis and the population of A. acidoterrestris and incubation time at 21 and 37°C necessary for chemical detection of guaiacol. Commercially sterilized apple juice (pH 3.54 ± 0.04, 11.3 ± 0.3°Brix) was inoculated with a five-strain mixture of A. acidoterrestris spores (2.98 log10 CFU/ml) and stored at 21 or 37°C for up to 61 days. Using an experienced sensory panel and the forced-choice ascending concentration method of limits, the best estimate threshold (BET) for recognition of guaiacol added to uninoculated apple juice was 2.23 ppb. Numbers of A. acidoterrestris spores and cells in inoculated juice remained constant during the 61-day storage period; however, the panel detected (P  0.01) guaiacol in juice stored at 37°C within 8 days. At three of four sampling times ranging from 13 to 61 days at which the sensory panel detected (P  0.001) guaiacol, concentrations of 8.1 to 11.4 ppb were detected by chromatographic analysis. The panel detected (P  0.1 to P  0.01) guaiacol in five samples stored at 21 to 37°C for 8 to 61 days in which the compound was not detected by chromatographic analyses. It appears that guaiacol content in apple juice inoculated with A. acidoterrestris is not always correlated with numbers of cells, and the limit of sensitivity of chromatographic quantitation of the compound is higher than the BET.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, Griffin, Georgia 30223- 1797 2: Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-7610 3: National Food Processors Association, 1350 I Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2000

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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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