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Thermal Inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 When Grown Statically or Continuously in a Chemostat

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The objective of this study was to determine if survivor curves for heat-inactivated Escherichia coli O157:H7 were affected by the physiological state of the cells relative to growth conditions and pH of the heating menstruum. A comparison was made between the log-linear model and non–log-linear Weibull approach. Cells were grown statically in aerobic culture tubes or in an aerobic chemostat in tryptic soy broth (pH 7.2). The heating menstruum was unbuffered peptone or phosphate buffer (pH 7.0). Thermal inactivation was carried out at 58, 59, 60, and 61°C, and recovery was on a nonselective medium. Longer inactivation times for statically grown cells indicated potential stress adaptation. This was more prevalent at 58°C. Shape response was also significantly different, with statically grown cells exhibiting decreasing thermal resistance over time and chemostat cells showing the opposite effect. Buffering the heating menstruum to ca. pH 7 resulted in inactivation curves that showed less variability or scatter of data points. Time to specific log reduction values (td ) for the Weibull model were conservative relative to the log-linear model depending upon the stage of reduction. The Weibull model offered the most accurate fit of the data in all cases, especially considering the log-linear model is equivalent to the Weibull model with a fixed shape factor of 1. The determination of z-value for the log-linear model showed a strong correlation between log D-value and process temperature. Correlations for the Weibull model parameters (log δ and log p) versus process temperature were not statistically significant.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science & Technology, University of Tennessee, 2605 River Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4591, USA; Grocery Manufacturers Association, 1350 I Street N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005, USA 2: Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, University of Tennessee, 2506 E. J. Chapman Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4531, USA 3: Department of Food Science & Technology, University of Tennessee, 2605 River Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4591, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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