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Thermoaciduric Clostridium pasteurianum Spoilage of Shelf-Stable Apple Juice

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Clostridium pasteurianum BB, a saccharolytic and spore-forming obligate anaerobe, was isolated and identified from shelf-stable apple juice that was responsible for multiple large spoilage outbreaks. The growth and sporulation conditions of C. pasteurianum were atypical compared with those previously published. C. pasteurianum spores were heat resistant in apple juice at pH 3.80, with D-values at 80, 85, and 90°C being 34.4, 15.9, and 4.4 min, respectively, and a z-value of 11°C. The survival curves for thermal inactivation obeyed linear first-order kinetics. Apple juice with varying pH values was used to determine the effect of pH on germination capability of C. pasteurianum spores. The spores were found to be able to germinate at pH as low as 4.3 in pH-adjusted apple juice at low contamination levels. It was confirmed by PCR that C. pasteurianum isolated from spoiled apple juice did not contain the genes for botulinum toxins B and E, which were more commonly found in neurotoxigenic butyric clostridia. Control of finished-juice pH to below 4.0 in combination with mild heating was proposed to prevent potential spoilage of shelf-stable apple juice made with spore-contaminated apple juice concentrate.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, Cornell University, Geneva, New York 14456, USA 2: Department of Food Science, Cornell University, Geneva, New York 14456, USA.

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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