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Evaluation of Magnetic Resonance for Detection of Bacterial Contamination in Low-Acid, Shelf-Stable Packaged Soymilk

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This study evaluated magnetic resonance (MR) as a nondestructive method for detection of bacterial contamination in shelf-stable soymilk and cheese sauce. To accomplish this, individual 355-ml polymeric trays filled with soymilk and inoculated with Bacillus stearothermophilus and Bacillus subtilis (103 CFU) were incubated for up to 28 h at 55°C and 62 h at 37°C, respectively. MR relaxation times (T2) of these samples were then correlated with the bacterial growth as well as viscosity and pH changes caused by the bacteria in the packaged soymilk. In addition, this study investigated the ability of MR to differentiate between regularly processed cheese sauce and cheese sauce that was modified with α-amylase as a spoilage simulation. Results showed increased MR T2 relaxation times after the bacterial populations reached 108 CFU/ml (after 18 h) and 107 CFU/ml (after 44 h) for B. stearothermophilus and B. subtilis, respectively. B. subtilis had an undetectable influence on viscosity but a profound influence on pH. B. stearothermophilus, in comparison, significantly lowered the pH and increased the viscosity of the soymilk. MR was able to distinguish between regularly processed 85-g pouches of cheese sauce and other pouches with sauce that were modified with 0.5 ml of 1% α-amylase solution. These results showed that MR has the potential to be used for nondestructive detection of physical changes in soymilk and cheese sauce induced by bacterial growth and enzymatic activities, respectively.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Center for Food Safety and Technology, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 6502 South Archer Road, Summit-Argo, Illinois 60501, USA 2: National Center for Food Safety and Technology, Illinois Institute of Technology Moffett Campus, 6502 South Archer Road, Summit-Argo, Illinois 60501, USA 3: 1875 Sherwood Road, Allentown, Pennsylvania 18103, USA 4: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 8301 Muirkirk Road, Laurel, Maryland 20708, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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