Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/10/2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The need for better control of foodborne pathogens has been paramount in recent years. Heat inactivation of foodborne pathogens is one of the fundamentally important strategies to assure microbiological safety of processed foods. Basic research on cellular and molecular mechanisms of heat resistance is also important to enhance our understanding of the physiological and genetic basis of thermal resistance. In the thermal inactivation of foodborne pathogens research at the Eastern Regional Research Center, the effects and interactions of temperature, pH, sodium chloride content, and sodium pyrophosphate concentration are among the variables that were considered when attempting to assess the heat inactivation kinetics of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, and spores of non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum. Incorporation of these multiple barriers increased the sensitivity of pathogens to heat, thereby reducing heat requirements and ensuring the safety of ready-to-eat food products. Also, models to predict growth from surviving spores of Clostridium perfringens and C. botulinum (proteolytic) at temperatures applicable to the cooling of cooked meat were developed. Predictive inactivation kinetics (thermal death) and cooling deviation models for foodborne pathogens should aid in evaluating the safety of cooked products and are being used as building blocks for microbial risk assessment.