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Modeling the Effects of Sodium Chloride, Acetic Acid, and Intracellular pH on Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7

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Microbiological safety has been a critical issue for acid and acidified foods since it became clear that acid-tolerant pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 can survive (even though they are unable to grow) in a pH range of 3 to 4, which is typical for these classes of food products. The primary antimicrobial compounds in these products are acetic acid and NaCl, which can alter the intracellular physiology of E. coli O157:H7, leading to cell death. For combinations of acetic acid and NaCl at pH 3.2 (a pH value typical for non-heat-processed acidified vegetables), survival curves were described by using a Weibull model. The data revealed a protective effect of NaCl concentration on cell survival for selected acetic acid concentrations. The intracellular pH of an E. coli O157:H7 strain exposed to acetic acid concentrations of up to 40 mM and NaCl concentrations between 2 and 4% was determined. A reduction in the intracellular pH was observed for increasing acetic acid concentrations with an external pH of 3.2. Comparing intracellular pH with Weibull model predictions showed that decreases in intracellular pH were significantly correlated with the corresponding times required to achieve a 5-log reduction in the number of bacteria.
Hosein, Althea M. , Breidt, Frederick Jr. , Smith, Charles E.
Includes references
Applied and environmental microbiology AEM 2011 Feb. 1, v. 77, no. 3
American Society for Microbiology
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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