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J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2002 Jun;28(6):311-5.

Comparison of the effects of temperature and water activity on growth rate of food spoilage moulds.

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Laboratoire de Microbiologie, ENS BANA, UMR INRA 1082, Université de Bourgogne, 1 Esplanade Erasme, Dijon F-21000, France.


The influence of temperature (T) and water activity (aw) on the growth rate (mu) of seven moulds (Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus flavus, Cladosporium cladosporioides, Mucor racemosus, Penicillium chrysogenum, Rhizopus oryzae and Trichoderma harzianum) was assessed in suboptimal conditions. Firstly, the dependence of fungal growth on temperature, at aw 0.99, was modelled through an approach described previously for bacteria. A dimensionless growth rate variable: mu(dimalpha)=mu/mu (optalpha) depended on the following normalised temperature: T(dim)=(T-T(min))/(T(opt)- T(min)) according to a power function: mu(dimalpha)=[T(dim)]alpha, where alpha was an exponent to be estimated. Secondly, the same approach was used to describe the influence of aw on fungal growth, at the respective optimum temperatures for each mould. Similarly, mu(dimbeta)=mu/mu(optbeta) depended on the following normalised water activity: a(wdim)=(aw-a(wmin))/(a(wopt)-a(wmin)) according to a power function: mu(dimbeta)=[a(wdim)](beta). Results show: (i) for each mould, the alpha-value is significantly less than the beta-value, confirming that water activity has a greater influence than temperature on fungal development; (ii) the alpha-values and the beta-values depend on the mould; (iii) the alpha-value is less than 1 for the mesophilic mould A. flavus, whereas the other moulds are characterised by higher alpha-values ranging from 1.10 to 1.54; (iv) the mesophilic A. flavus exhibits a low beta-value, 1.50, compared to the hydrophilic T. harzianum, beta=2.44, while beta-values are within the range (1.71-2.37) for the other moulds.

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