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Bacteria Associated with Processed Crawfish and Potential Toxin Production by Clostridium botulinum Type E in Vacuum Packaged and Aerobically Packaged Crawfish Tails

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Refrigerated vacuum-packaged storage has been shown to increase significantly the shelf life of fresh fish and seafood products, but the effect, if any, on the outgrowth and toxin production of Clostridium botulinum type E on cooked crawfish is unknown. Microflora associated with live crawfish reflect the microbial populations of the harvest water and sediments in which they are living. The presence or absence of specific pathogens in either vacuum-packaged or air-permeable bags of cooked crawfish have not been thoroughly evaluated. This study evaluates the potential survival and outgrowth of biological hazards in both vacuum-packaged and air-permeable-packaged cooked crawfish held at 4 and 10°C for 30 days. During shelf-life studies of vacuum-packaged and air-permeable-bagged cooked crawfish, a total of 31 bacterial species were isolated and identified from crawfish samples using both selective and nonselective media. The only pathogens isolated from both vacuum-packed and air-permeable bags of processed crawfish samples during shelf-life studies were strains of Aeromonas hydrophila and Staphylococcus aureus. C. botulinum type E and Clostridium perfringens species were not isolated from any of the uninoculated crawfish samples. Cooked crawfish were inoculated with 103 C. botulinum type E spores per g of crawfish tail meat to determine whether cooked crawfish tails would support the growth of C. botulinum type E strains and produce toxin at refrigerated temperatures. Spore-inoculated crawfish tails were vacuum packaged in both a high barrier film and an air-permeable bag and stored at 4°C and 10°C for 30 days. C. botulinum toxin E was not detected in any of the spore-inoculated packages throughout the shelf-life study until day 30. Microbiological data from this study should be useful in the development and implementation of the hazard analysis and critical control point plans for processed crawfish tails.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Rapid Microbial Detection Facility, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA; Department of Food Science, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA 2: Rapid Microbial Detection Facility, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2000

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