Significance of temperature and preincubation temperature on survival of Listeria monocytogenes at pH 4.8

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Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogenic bacterium that can be found in soft cheese. At the beginning of cheese ripening, the pH is about 4.85-4.90. The aim of this work was to study the influence of temperature, preincubation temperature(temperature at which the inoculum was cultivated) and initial bacterial concentration on the survival of L. monocytogenes (strain Scott A) at pH 4.8. It was demonstrated in an earlier study that these factors did influence growth kinetics. Survival studies of L. monocytogenes were done in a laboratory broth simulating cheese composition. Four test temperatures (2, 6, 10 and 14°C) and two preincubation temperatures were studied (30°C or the test temperature). Listeria monocytogenes (strain Scott A) was unable to grow at pH 4.8 under all conditions tested. The time for 10% survival was about 11 and 2 d, at 2°C with preincubation at 2°C and 30°C, respectively; 9 d at 6°C with preincubation at 6°C; 4 d at 6°C with preincubation at 30°C; and 1 d at 14°C with preincubation at 14°C or at 30°C. The results show that survival of L. monocytogenes (strain Scott A) at pH 4.8 is not dependent on initial bacterial concentration but on both the test and preincubation temperatures.

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