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J Food Prot. 2012 Jul;75(7):1227-35. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-11-536.

Growth kinetics of listeria isolated from salmon and salmon processing environment: single strains versus cocktails.

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  • 1Nofima, P.O. Box 8034, 4068 Stavanger, Norway.


The growth dynamics of Listeria monocytogenes strains isolated from salmon or a salmon processing environment and two reference Listeria innocua strains were investigated at refrigerated and close-to-optimal growth temperatures. Estimates for the growth rates and the lag-phase duration at 4, 8, 12, and 30°C were obtained for optical density measurements by using different growth parameter estimation methods, i.e., the serial dilution (SD) method and the relative rate to detection (RRD) method. Both single L. innocua and L. monocytogenes strains and mixtures of L. monocytogenes strains (cocktails) were studied. Both methods show an increase in maximum growth rate (μ(max)) of Listeria with increasing temperatures. Generally, single-strain growth rate estimates were quite similar for both species, although L. monocytogenes showed slightly higher μ(max) estimates at 4°C. The SD method gave the highest estimates for the growth rate, i.e., the estimates from the RRD method were 10 to 20% lower. This should lead to caution when using the latter method for Listeria, particularly at lower temperatures. Overall, the SD method is preferred as this method yields μ(max) estimates close to the biological value and provides estimates for the duration of lag time (λ). For discrimination between different strains, λ appeared to be a more suitable parameter than μ(max). This effect was most prominent for L. innocua. Significant differences were observed between μ(max) and/or λ of L. monocytogenes cocktails and single strains at all temperatures investigated. At 4°C, the average growth rate of cocktails was higher than that of single strains. At 8 and 30°C, this trend was reversed. The average λ of single strains were more than twice as long as those of cocktails at 4°C. At 8 and 30°C, the λ of cocktails were significantly slower than those of single strains, but the variation was considerably less and the differences were less pronounced.

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