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Food Microbiol. 2008 Oct;25(7):915-21. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 May 29.

Control of spoilage microorganisms in minced pork by a self-developed modified atmosphere induced by the respiratory activity of meat microflora.

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Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Hygiene, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Food Science and Technology, Aristotle University of Thessalonica, Thessalonica, GR-54124, Greece.


The changes in microbial flora of minced pork during aerobic storage at 0, 5, 10 and 15 degrees C were studied. Minced pork samples (100g) were packed using two types of packaging films: (a) a common food film with high permeability (HPF) and (b) a film with low permeability (LPF). The respiratory activity of meat microflora and the use of a LPF resulted in a modified atmosphere in the package headspace developed during storage. Oxygen concentration decreased from 18.7% (after packaging) to 7% (after 15 days of storage) in packages with LPF, stored at 0 degrees C, while CO(2) increased from 3% to 10.5%, respectively. On the contrary, no significant atmosphere changes were observed during storage of HPF packages. The self-developed modified atmosphere in LPF packages resulted in a significant inhibition of pseudomonad growth which was more pronounced at low storage temperatures. For example, during storage at 0 degrees C, the growth rate of pseudomonads in meat packed with LPF was reduced by 48.7% compared to HPF. At 10 degrees C the latter reduction decreased to 13.7%. LPF packaging was also found to inhibit the growth of Brochothrix thermosphacta but this inhibition was weaker compared to pseudomonads. The effect of storage temperature on the growth rate of pseudomonads and B. thermosphacta in minced pork packed with the different films was modeled using an Arrhenius equation. For both bacteria, the activation energy was higher for LPF packaging. This can be attributed to the increased inhibitory effect of the modified atmosphere at lower storage temperature. The Arrhenius model was further used to evaluate the effect of temperature on the time required by the two bacteria to reach a spoilage level of 10(7)CFU/g. The results showed that when LPF packaging is combined with effective temperature control the time-to-spoilage can be significantly extended compared to HPF packaging.

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