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Independent effects of acetic acid and pH on survival of Escherichia coli in simulated acidified pickle products
Our objective was to determine the effects of organic acids and pH on the rate at which selected strains of Escherichia coli O157:H7 die in acid solutions representative of acidified pickle products (pH < 4.6). We used gluconic acid/sodium gluconate (pK(a) = 3.7) as a noninhibitory buffer to maintain pH at selected values in the absence of other organic acids. This was possible because we found that the inhibitory effects of this acid on E. coli strains at pH 3.1 were independent of acid concentration over a range of 2 to 200 mM. By this method, the lethal effects of acetic acid solutions (100 to 400 mM) at selected pH values between 3.1 and 4.1 were compared with the effects of pH alone (as determined using gluconate buffer). We found D-values were two- to fourfold lower with acetic acid compared with the effect of pH alone for simulated pickle brines in this pH range. Glutamic acid, an amino acid that is known to enhance acid resistance in E. coli and is a component of pickle brines, protected the E. coli strains from the specific effects of acetic acid.
Breidt, F. Jr.
Escherichia coli O157:H7
Journal of food protection 2004 Jan., v. 67, no. 1
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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Agricultural Research Service
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