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The effects of different heating systems on the heat resistance of Bacillus stearothermophilus spores (ATCC 7953, 12980, 15951 and 15952) were investigated. Spores were heated in distilled water, Sorensen buffer (0.18 mol l-1), McIlvaine buffer (0.0025-0.18 mol l-1), and several solutions containing sodium chloride (0.06-12%), sodium nitrite (125 ppm), potassium sorbate (0.1%) and sodium benzoate (0.1%) over a wide range of temperatures (115-140°C). D-values obtained for McIlvaine and Sorensen buffers, at the same molarities, were not significantly different (P > 0.05), but decimal reduction times increased as phosphate concentrations in the solutions decreased. The concentrations, in which statistically significant differences (P < 0.05) were obtained, varied among strains. Among the additives assayed, only sodium chloride reduced heat resistance, being effective at concentrations as low as 0.06%. The z-values calculated in this study ranged from 6.99 to 8.40 with a mean value of 7.60 ± 0.45. Although z-values observed for salt and buffers (180 mol l-1) were slightly higher than those obtained in the other conditions assayed, the difference was not statistically significant (P > 0.05).