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Feasibility of Utilizing Bioindicators for Testing Microbial Inactivation in Sweetpotato Purees Processed with a Continuous-Flow Microwave System
- Continuous-flow microwave heating has potential in aseptic processing of various food products, including purees from sweetpotatoes and other vegetables. Establishing the feasibility of a new processing technology for achieving commercial sterility requires evaluating microbial inactivation. This study aimed to assess the feasibility of using commercially available plastic pouches of bioindicators containing spores of Geobacillius stearothermophilus ATCC 7953 and Bacillus subtilis ATCC 35021 for evaluating the degree of microbial inactivation achieved in vegetable purees processed in a continuous-flow microwave heating unit. Sweetpotato puree seeded with the bioindicators was subjected to 3 levels of processing based on the fastest particles: undertarget process (F₀ approximately 0.65), target process (F₀ approximately 2.8), and overtarget process (F₀ approximately 10.10). After initial experiments, we found it was necessary to engineer a setup with 2 removable tubes connected to the continuous-flow microwave system to facilitate the injection of indicators into the unit without interrupting the puree flow. Using this approach, 60% of the indicators injected into the system could be recovered postprocess. Spore survival after processing, as evaluated by use of growth indicator dyes and standard plating methods, verified inactivation of the spores in sweetpotato puree. The log reduction results for B. subtilis were equivalent to the predesigned degrees of sterilization (F₀). This study presents the first report suggesting that bioindicators such as the flexible, food-grade plastic pouches can be used for microbial validation of commercial sterilization in aseptic processing of foods using a continuous-flow microwave system.
Brinley, T.A. , Dock, C.N. , Truong, V.-D. , Coronel, P. , Kumar, P. , Simunovic, J. , Sandeep, K.P. , Cartwright, G.D. , Swartzel, K.R. , Jaykus, L.-A.
food analysis , vegetable products , sweet potatoes , pureed foods , heat treatment , microwave treatment , food quality , sterilizing , aseptic conditions , food safety , food pathogens , food contamination , process control , bacterial contamination , indicator species , bacterial spores , Bacillus subtilis , Bacillus stearothermophilus , thermoplastics , pouches , microbial activity , heat inactivation , detection , validity
- Includes references
- Journal of food science an official publication of the Institute of Food Technologists 2007 June-July, v. 72, no. 5
- Blackwell Publishing Inc
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
- Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.