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Int J Food Microbiol. 2005 Jan 15;98(1):1-9.

Modelling of effects of water activity and temperature on germination and growth of ochratoxigenic isolates of Aspergillus ochraceus on a green coffee-based medium.

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  • 1Food Technology Department, University of Lleida, Rovira Roure 191, 25198 Lleida, Spain.


Influence of water activity (0.75-0.99 a(w)) and temperature (10, 20 and 30 degrees C) on germination and mycelial growth on green coffee extract agar medium of three ochratoxigenic isolates of Aspergillus ochraceus was studied. Optimal conditions for germination and growth were observed at 0.95-0.99 a(w) and 20-30 degrees C for the three isolates. Minimum a(w) level for germination was 0.80, and 0.85 for mycelial growth. At marginal a(w) and temperature levels assayed, the lag phases prior to germination increased and the growth rates showed a significant decrease in comparison with the optimal conditions. Data were modelled by a multiple linear regression (MLR) and response surface models were obtained. Germination and growth of A. ochraceus in green coffee beans could be prevented or at least inhibited to some extent by minimising the time that coffee beans are exposed to temperature and humidity conditions near to the optimum during processing and storage. This could be an empirical approach to predict the effects of water activity and temperature conditions on the development of ochratoxigenic isolates of A. ochraceus during handling and storage of green coffee.

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