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J Appl Microbiol. 2000 Apr;88(4):617-25.

Prevalence, characterization and growth of Bacillus cereus in commercial cooked chilled foods containing vegetables.

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Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Station de Technologie des Produits Végétaux,Avignon, France.


In cooked-chilled and pasteurized vegetable products, initial numbers of Bacillus cereus were below 10 cfu g-1. Before the appearance of spoilage, numbers reached 6-8 log cfu g-1 at 20 degrees C and 4-6 log cfu g-1 at 10 degrees C. Bacillus cereus was not detected in samples stored at 4 degrees C. Ten percent of strains isolated from the products were able to grow at 5 degrees C and 63% at 10 degrees C. Bacillus cereus strains unable to degrade starch, a feature linked to the production of emetic toxin, did not grow at 10 degrees C and had a higher heat resistance at 90 degrees C. Using immunochemical assays, enterotoxin was detected in the culture supernatant fluid of 97.5% of the strains. All culture supernatant fluids were cytotoxic but important variations in the level of activity were found. Psychrotrophic isolates of B. cereus were unable to grow in courgette broth at 7 degrees C whereas they grew in a rich laboratory medium. At 10 degrees C, these isolates grew in both media but lag time in courgette broth was 20-fold longer than in the rich laboratory medium.

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