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J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Apr;92(6):1304-10. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4701. Epub 2011 Nov 14.

The prevalence and some metabolic traits of Brochothrix thermosphacta in meat and meat products packaged in different ways.

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Technical University of Lodz, Institute of Fermentation Technology and Microbiology Wolczanska 171/173, 90-924 Lodz, Poland.



The effect of Brochothrix thermosphacta on the quality of meat and meat products is of vital importance in connection with Regulation EC/178/2002 extending the definition of unsafe foodstuffs to encompass all those which are unfit for human consumption. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of B. thermosphacta in meat and meat products packaged under different conditions and to estimate the effect of B. thermosphacta strains on product quality based on their protein and lipid degradation activity.


B. thermosphacta was absent in only two of 132 samples. All other samples were contaminated with this bacterium (10(1) to 10(9) cfu g(-1) meat and 10(2) to 10(8) cfu g(-1) meat product). In products stored under high-oxygen atmosphere Brochothrix cells accounted for almost 100% total mesophilic count (TMC) and below 50% TMC in oxygen-free atmosphere. While the tested B. thermosphacta strains did not show any proteolytic activity, most of them displayed lipolytic activity at 25 °C and some even at 4 °C.


B. thermosphacta is commonly present in meat and meat products packaged in different ways. This bacterium can display lipolytic activity also at refrigeration temperature. Its over-proliferation can be inhibited through vacuum packaging or packaging under a modified atmosphere with reduced oxygen content.

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