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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Microbial and Chemical Food Safety » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #325667

Title: Effect of pomegranate powder on the heat inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H4 in ground chicken

item Juneja, Vijay
item CADAVEZ, VASCO - De Ciência Animal & Centro De Investigação De Montanha (CIMO)
item GONZALES-BARRON, URSULA - De Ciência Animal & Centro De Investigação De Montanha (CIMO)
item Mukhopadhyay, Sudarsan
item FRIEDMAN, MENDAL - Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)

Submitted to: Food Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/19/2016
Publication Date: 5/20/2016
Citation: Juneja, V.K., Cadavez, V., Gonzales-Barron, U., Mukhopadhyay, S., Friedman, M. 2016. Effect of pomegranate powder on the heat inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H4 in ground chicken. Food Control. 70:26-34.

Interpretive Summary: Inadequate cooking of contaminated ground chicken in retail food service operations may not ensure destruction of E. coli O157:H4 in contaminated products. Thus, there has been a need to better define the heat treatment given to chicken products to provide an adequate degree of protection against survival of this pathogen. We found that supplementing ground chicken with pomegranate powder renders the pathogen more sensitive to the lethal effect of heat. The mathematical model developed for predicting the destruction of E. coli O157:H4 in chicken will be of immediate use to consumers and to the retail food service operations and regulatory agencies to ensure the safety of the cooked chicken.

Technical Abstract: Health concerns have led to a search for natural plant-based antimicrobials. Ellagic acid has been shown to have antimicrobial activity against foodborne pathogens. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of a high-ellagic acid commercial pomegranate on the heat resistance of Escherichia coli O104:H4 in ground chicken. A full 24 factorial design was used, consisting of temperature treatment with four levels (55.0, 57.5, 60.0, and 62.5C) and pomegranate with four levels (0.0, 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 wt. /wt. % containing 70% ellagic acid). Experiments were conducted twice, providing a total of 32 survival curves. A three-parameter Weibull primary model was used to describe survival kinetics. Secondary models were then developed to estimate the shape parameter B (i.e., curvature representing susceptibility of cells to stress), scale parameter ' (i.e., time to reach the first decimal reduction) and the 5.0-log lethality time t5.0 (i.e., time to reach a 5.0-log reduction), all as polynomial functions of temperature and pomegranate powder concentration. The positive effect of pomegranate concentration on both beta and y demonstrated that the phenolic compound causes E. coli O104:H4 cells to become more susceptible to heat, increasing the steepness and concavity of the isothermal survival curves. It was estimated that the 5.0-log reduction time would reach a minimum at a pomegranate powder concentration of 1%, producing a 50% decrease in lethality time, in comparison to that when no pomegranate powder is added. Nonetheless, a mixed-effect omnibus regression further confirmed that the greatest difference in the thermal resistance of E. coli O104:H4 happened between not adding and adding pomegranate powder. In fact, adding more than 1.0% pomegranate powder, at a constant temperature, resulted only in a marginal decrease in thermal resistance. Meat processors can use the model to design lethality treatments in order to achieve specific reductions of E. coli O104:H4 in ground chicken.