Inactivation Kinetics of Avirulent Bacillus anthracis Spores in Milk with a Combination of Heat and Hydrogen Peroxide

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The combined effect of heat and hydrogen peroxide (HP) on the inactivation of avirulent Bacillus anthracis spores (Sterne strain 7702; strain ANR-1, an avirulent Ames derivative lacking the pXO2 plasmid; and strain 9131, a plasmid-less Sterne strain) was evaluated in milk. The study temperature ranged from 90 to 95°C, and the concentration of added HP varied from 0.05 to 0.5%. Decimal reduction times (D-values) were determined using a sealed capillary tube technique. The mean D- and z-values of hydrated freeze-dried spores of all three strains in milk ranged from 550 s at 90°C to 180 s at 94°C and from 8.6 to 9.0°C, respectively. When 0.05% HP was added to the milk, the D-values were decreased at least threefold, and at 0.5% HP the D-values ranged from 1 to 10 s. At 90°C, all three strains had similar D-values when 0.05% HP was added. Increasing the concentration of HP to 0.5% had a greater reducing effect on the D-value for strain 7702 than on the values for strains ANR-1 and 9131. The rate of inactivation of each strain followed first-order reaction kinetics at each temperature-peroxide combination. Equations in the form of D = Constant × (HP concentration) n had R 2 values greater than 0.97 for strains ANR-1 and 7702 and of at least 0.7 for strain 9131. This study suggests that a combination of high temperature (from 90 to 95°C) and HP could be used for inactivation of B. anthracis spores in the event of deliberate contamination of milk such that the contaminated milk could be disposed of safely.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, 1334 Eckles Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2008

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