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This study aimed to investigate the reduction of patulin (PAT) in apple juice by 12 inactivated Alicyclobacillus strains. The reduction rate of PAT by each strain was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The results indicated that the removal of PAT was strain specific. Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris 92 and A. acidoterrestris 96 were the most effective ones among the 12 tested strains in the removal of PAT. Therefore, these two strains were selected to study the effects of incubation time, initial PAT concentration and bacteria powder amount on PAT removal abilities of Alicyclobacillus. The highest PAT reduction rates of 88·8 and 81·6% were achieved after 24-h incubation with initial PAT concentration of 100 μg l−1 and bacteria powder amount of 40 g l−1, respectively. Moreover, it was found that the treatment by these 12 inactivated Alicyclobacillus strains had no negative effect on the quality parameters of apple juice. Similar assays were performed in supermarket apple juice, where inactivated Alicyclobacillus cells could efficiently reduce PAT content. Taken together, these data suggest the possible application of this strategy as a means to detoxify PAT-contaminated juices.Inactivated Alicyclobacillus cells can efficiently reduce patulin concentration in apple juice. It provides a theoretical foundation for recycling of Alicyclobacillus cells from spoiled apple juice to reduce the source of pollution and the cost of juice industry. This is the first report on the use of Alicyclobacillus to remove patulin from apple juice.