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Crit Rev Microbiol. 2004;30(2):55-74.

Alicyclobacillus spp. in the fruit juice industry: history, characteristics, and current isolation/detection procedures.

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Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-6376, USA.


The first Alicyclobacillus spp. was isolated in 1982, and was originally thought to be strictly limited to thermophilic and acidic environments. Two years later, another Alicyclobacillus sp., A. acidoterrestris, was identified as the causative agent in spoilage of commercially pasteurized apple juice. Subsequent studies soon found that Alicyclobacillus spp. are soilborne bacteria, and do not strictly require thermophilic and acidic environments. Alicyclobacillus spp. posess several distinct characteristics; the major one is their ability to survive commercial pasteurization processes and produce off-flavors in fruit juices. The fruit juice industry has acknowledged Alicyclobacillus spp. as a major quality control target microorganism. Guaiacol and halophenols were identified as the offensive smelling agent in many Alicyclobacillus spp. related spoilage. Though the exact formation pathway of these off-flavors by Alicyclobacillus spp. are not yet identified, studies report that the presence of Alicyclobacillus spp. in the medium may be a major contributor to the formation of these off-flavors. Many identification methods and isolation media were developed in the last two decades. However, most of these methods were developed specifically for A. acidoterrestris, which was the first identified off-flavor producing Alicyclobacillus. However, recent studies indicate that other species of Alicyclobacillus may also produce guaiacol or the halophenols. In this respect, all Alicyclobacillus spp. should be monitored as potential spoilage bacteria in fruit juices. This article includes an overall review of the history of Alicyclobacillus spp., characteristics, suggested off-flavor production pathways, and commonly used identification methods for the currently identified Alicyclobacillus spp.

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