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Efficacy of Chlorine Dioxide against Listeria monocytogenes in Brine Chilling Solutions

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Chilled brine solutions are used by the food industry to rapidly cool ready-to-eat meat products after cooking and before packaging. Chlorine dioxide (ClO2) was investigated as an antimicrobial additive to eliminate Listeria monocytogenes. Several experiments were performed using brine solutions made of sodium chloride (NaCl) and calcium chloride (CaCl2) inoculated with L. monocytogenes and/or treated with 3 ppm of ClO2. First, 10 and 20% CaCl2 and NaCl solutions (pH 7.0) were inoculated with a five-strain cocktail of L. monocytogenes to obtain ∼7 log CFU/ml and incubated 8 h at 0°C. The results demonstrated that L. monocytogenes survived in 10% CaCl2, 10 and 20% NaCl, and pure water. L. monocytogenes levels were reduced ∼1.2 log CFU/ml in 20% CaCl2. Second, inoculated (∼7 log CFU/ml) brine solutions (10 and 20% NaCl and 10% CaCl2) treated with 3 ppm of ClO2 resulted in a ∼4-log reduction of the pathogen within 90 s. The same was not observed in a solution of 20% CaCl2; further investigation demonstrated that high levels of divalent cations interfere with the disinfectant. Spent brine solutions from hot dog and ham chilling were treated with ClO2 at concentrations of 3 or 30 ppm. At these concentrations, ClO2 did not reduce L. monocytogenes. Removal of divalent cations and organic material in brine solutions prior to disinfection with ClO2 should be investigated to improve the efficacy of the compound against L. monocytogenes. The information from this study may be useful to processing establishments and researchers who are investigating antimicrobials in chilling brine solutions.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA 2: Department of Dairy and Animal Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA 3: Department of Food Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA;, Email:

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) 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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