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J Appl Microbiol. 2000 Nov;89(5):892-9.

The effect of thermal stress on Campylobacter coli.

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Department of Food Science (Food Microbiology), The Queen's University of Belfast, UK.



Enteropathogenic Campylobacter jejuni, Camp. coli and Camp. lari are currently the most common cause of acute infectious diarrhoeal illness in the UK. Many domestic animals, including pigs, act as natural reservoirs for these organisms and infection may occur through the ingestion of contaminated foodstuffs. The safety of locally produced porcine liver was assessed in relation to the heat susceptibility of Campylobacter spp. present in eviscerated product.


Heat susceptibility (D10) studies were performed on a wild-type strain of Camp. coli [NI39] isolated from porcine liver under standardized conditions. In addition, the effect of culture age and heating menstruum was determined. Thermal stress studies in phosphate-buffered saline showed Camp. coli NI39 to be heat sensitive (D10 = 8.-0, 30.8, 15.6, 10.3 s at 55.4, 57.4, 59.7, 61.2 degrees C, respectively; z = 6.10 degrees C). However, non-logarithmic biphasic survivor curves were observed at higher temperatures ( > 56 degrees C), indicating the presence of a heat-resistant subpopulation (10(4)-10(5) cfu) which was not demonstrated when examining either Salmonella typhimurium or Listeria monocytogenes.


The use of D10 values may be limited. Therefore, porcine liver, under processing, must be treated as a potential source of Campylobacter spp., and clearly defined F-values should be quantified through the use of empirically 'spiked' samples to ensure the eradication of campylobacters from the product, for each individual process being evaluated.


It is important to define safe processing parameters in the manufacture of products which receive mild thermal processes in order to eliminate the risk of disease to man.

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