Thermal Resistance of Francisella tularensis in Infant Formula and Fruit Juices

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Francisella tularensis is a gram-negative bacterium that can cause gastrointestinal or oropharyngeal tularemia from ingestion of contaminated food or water. Despite the potential for accidental or intentional contamination of foods with F. tularensis, little information exists on the thermal stability of this organism in food matrices. In the present study, the thermal resistance of the live vaccine strain of F. tularensis in four food products (liquid infant formula, apple juice, mango juice, and orange juice) was investigated. D -values ranged from 12 s (57.5°C) to 580 s (50°C) in infant formula with a z -value of 4.37°C. D -values in apple juice ranged from 8 s (57.5°C) to 59 s (50°C) with a z -value of 9.17°C. The live vaccine strain did not survive at temperatures above 55°C in mango juice and orange juice (6-log inactivation). D -values at 55 to 47.5°C were 15 to 59 s in mango juice and 16 to 105 s in orange juice with z -values of 9.28 and 12.30°C, respectively. These results indicate that current pasteurization parameters used for destroying common foodborne bacterial pathogens are adequate for eliminating F. tularensis in the four foods tested. This study is the first to determine thermal inactivation of F. tularensis in specific foods and will permit comparisons with the thermal inactivation data of other more traditional foodborne pathogens.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U. S. Food and Drug Administration, HFS-712, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA

Publication date: November 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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