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Int J Food Microbiol. 2000 Sep 10;59(3):185-209.

Structural model requirements to describe microbial inactivation during a mild heat treatment.

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BioTeC-Bioprocess Technology and Control, Department of Food and Microbial Technology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.


The classical concept of D and z values, established for sterilisation processes, is unable to deal with the typical non-loglinear behaviour of survivor curves occurring during the mild heat treatment of sous vide or cook-chill food products. Structural model requirements are formulated, eliminating immediately some candidate model types. Promising modelling approaches are thoroughly analysed and, if applicable, adapted to the specific needs: two models developed by Casolari (1988), the inactivation model of Sapru et al. (1992), the model of Whiting (1993), the Baranyi and Roberts growth model (1994), the model of Chiruta et al. (1997), the model of Daughtry et al. (1997) and the model of Xiong et al. (1999). A range of experimental data of Bacillus cereus, Yersinia enterocolitica, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes and Lactobacillus sake are used to illustrate the different models' performances. Moreover, a novel modelling approach is developed, fulfilling all formulated structural model requirements, and based on a careful analysis of literature knowledge of the shoulder and tailing phenomenon. Although a thorough insight in the occurrence of shoulders and tails is still lacking from a biochemical point of view, this newly developed model incorporates the possibility of a straightforward interpretation within this framework.

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