Bacterial Flora of Processed Broiler Chicken Skin after Successive Washings in Mixtures of Potassium Hydroxide and Lauric Acid

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Changes in the size of populations of different groups of bacteria composing the normal flora of processed broiler skin were examined after each of five consecutive washings in mixtures of potassium hydroxide (KOH) and lauric acid (LA). Portions of skin from commercially processed broiler carcasses were washed in distilled water (control) or in mixtures of 0.25% KOH–0.5% LA or 0.5% KOH–1% LA by using a stomacher laboratory blender to agitate the skin in the solutions. After each wash, skin was transferred to fresh solutions, and washing was repeated to provide samples washed one to five times in each solution. Bacteria in rinsates of the washed skin were enumerated on plate count (PC) agar, Staphylococcus (STA) agar, Levine eosin methylene blue (EMB) agar, lactic acid bacteria (LAB) agar, and Perfringens (PER) agar with TSC supplement. Selected isolates recovered on each medium were identified. Overall, no significant differences were observed in numbers of bacteria recovered on PC, STA, or EMB agars from skin after repeated washing in water, but there were significant reductions in the number of bacteria recovered on LAB and PER agars. Repeated washing of skin in 0.25% KOH–0.5% LA or 0.5% KOH–1% LA generally produced significant reductions in the number of bacteria recovered on all media. Furthermore, no bacteria were recovered on PER agar from skin washed five times in 0.25% KOH–0.5% LA. Likewise, no bacteria were recovered on EMB or LAB agars from skin washed three or more times in 0.5% KOH–1% LA or on PER agar from skin washed four or five times in this solution. Staphylococcus spp. were identified as the skin isolates with the highest degree of resistance to the bactericidal activity of KOH-LA. Findings indicate that although bacteria may be continually shed from poultry skin after repeated washings, bactericidal surfactants can be used to remove and kill several types of bacteria found on the surface of the skin of processed broilers.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Poultry Processing and Swine Physiology Unit, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 950 College Station Road, Russell Research Center, Athens, Georgia 30605, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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