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Int J Food Microbiol. 2006 Oct 1;111(3):241-51. Epub 2006 Jul 18.

Modelling the individual cell lag time distributions of Listeria monocytogenes as a function of the physiological state and the growth conditions.

Author information

  • 1Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort, Unité Microbiologie des Alimente Sécurité Qualité, 7 avenue du Général de Gaulle, F-94704 Maisons-Alfort, France.

Erratum in

  • Int J Food Microbiol. 2008 May 10;124(1):114.


The individual cell lag time distributions of Listeria monocytogenes were characterized for 54 combinations of 22 initial physiological states, 18 growth conditions, and 11 strains. The individual cell lag times were deduced from the times for cultures issued from individual cells to reach an optical density threshold. The extreme value type II distribution with a shape parameter set to 5 was shown effective to describe the 54 observed distributions. The theoretical distributions of individual lag times were thus predictable from the observed means and standard deviations of cell lag times. More interestingly, relationships were proposed to predict the mean and the standard deviation of individual cell lag times from population lag times observed with high initial concentration experiments. The observed relations are consistent with the constancy of the product of the growth rate by the lag time at the cell level for a given physiological state when growth conditions are varying. This product, k, is thus representative of the cell physiological state. The proposed models allow the prediction of individual cell lag time distributions of L. monocytogenes in different growth conditions. We also observed that, whatever the stress encountered and the strains used, the coefficient of variation of the distributions of k was quite constant. These results could be used to describe the variability of the behaviour of few cells of L. monocyotgenes contaminating foods and stressed in the environment of food industry or by food processing.

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