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Antibacterial Effects of Long-Chain Polyphosphates on Selected Spoilage and Pathogenic Bacteria

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The antimicrobial activities of four long-chain food-grade polyphosphates were studied at concentrations allowed in the food industry (<5,000 ppm) in defined basal media by determining the inhibition of growth of three gram-negative and four gram-positive spoilage and pathogenic bacteria. Both generation time and lag phase of Escherichia coli K-12, E. coli O157:H7, and Salmonella Typhimurium were increased with all of the polyphosphates tested. Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus were more sensitive to polyphosphates, but not in all cases, with multiphased growth. The growth of Lactobacillus plantarum was inhibited by polyphosphates at concentrations above 750 ppm, but the lag time of Listeria monocytogenes was shortened by the presence of polyphosphates. No single polyphosphate was maximally inhibitory against all bacteria. Polyphosphates with chain lengths of 12 to 15 were significantly different from those with chain lengths of 18 to 21 depending on the organism and concentrations of polyphosphate used. Overall, higher polyphosphate concentrations resulted in greater inhibition of bacterial growth.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, East Campus, Lincoln, Nebraska 68583, USA 2: Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Texas Woman's University, P.O. Box 425888, Denton, Texas 76204, USA 3: Hightstown, New Jersey 08520, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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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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