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Int J Food Microbiol. 2002 Nov 15;79(1-2):105-12.

Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in traditional African yoghurt fermentation.

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School of Applied Sciences, University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.


Growth and survival of a nontoxigenic strain of Escherichia coli O157:H7 (ATCC 43888) was determined in traditionally fermented pasteurized milk. Preheated milk was inoculated with 1% (v/v) of a mixed culture of Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus (NCIMB 11778) and Streptococcus salivarius ssp. thermophilus (NCIMB 110368) and incubated at 25, 30, 37 or 43 degrees C for 24 h. E. coli O157:H7 (10(5) CFU/ml) were introduced into the milk pre- and post-fermentation. Fermented milk samples were subsequently stored at either 4 degrees C (refrigerator temperature) or 25 degrees C (to mimic African ambient temperature) for 5 days. After 24 h of fermentation, the pH of the samples fermented at the higher temperatures of 37-43 degrees C decreased from 6.8 to 4.4-4.0 ( +/- 0.2) whereas at the lower temperature of 25 degrees C, the pH decreased to pH 5.0 +/- 0.1. During this period, viable counts for E. coli O157:H7 increased from 10(5) to 10(8) - 10(9) CFU/ml except in milk fermented at 43 degrees C wherein viability declined to 10(4) CFU/ml. In fermented (25-30 degrees C) milk stored at 4 degrees C for 5 days, E. coli O157:H7 viability decreased from 10(8-9) to 10(6-7) CFU/ml whereas milk fermented at 43 degrees C resulted in loss of detectable cells. In contrast, storage of fermented milk samples at 25 degrees C for 5 days eventually resulted in complete loss of viability irrespective of fermentation temperature. Stationary phase E. coli O157:H7 inoculated post-fermentation (25 and 43 degrees C) survived during 4 degrees C storage, but not 25 degrees C storage. Fermentation temperature and subsequent storage temperature are critical to the growth and survival of E. coli O157:H7 in traditional fermented products involving yoghurt starter cultures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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