Food Science and Technology Department


Date of this Version

July 2006


Published in JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE —Vol. 71, Nr. 6, 2006.


We investigated the inhibition of Clostridium perfringens spore germination and outgrowth by the biopolymer chitosan during abusive chilling of cooked ground beef (25% fat) and turkey (7% fat) obtained from a retail store. Chitosan was mixed into the thawed beef or turkey at concentrations of 0.5%, 1.0%, 2.0%, or 3.0% (w/w) along with a heat-activated 3-strain spore cocktail to obtain a final spore concentration of 2 to 3 log10 CFU/g. Samples (5 g) of the ground beef or turkey mixtures were then vacuum-packaged and cooked to 60 ◦C in 1 h in a temperature-controlled water bath. Thereafter, the products were cooled from 54.4 to 7.2 ◦C in 12, 15, 18, or 21 h, resulting in 4.21, 4.51, 5.03, and 4.70 log10 CFU/g increases, respectively, in C. perfringens populations in the ground beef control samples without chitosan. The corresponding increases for ground turkeywere 5.27, 4.52, 5.11, and 5.38 log10 CFU/g. Addition of chitosan to beef or turkey resulted in concentration- and time-dependent inhibition in the C. perfringens spore germination and outgrowth. At 3%, chitosan reduced by 4 to 5 log10 CFU/g C. perfringens spore germination and outgrowth (P ≤ 0.05) during exponential cooling of the cooked beef or turkey in 12, 15, or 18 h. The reduction was significantly lower (P < 0.05) at a chilling time of 21 h, about 2 log10 CFU/g, that is, 7.56 log10 CFU/g (unsupplemented) compared with 5.59 log10 CFU/g (3% chitosan). The results suggest that incorporation of 3% chitosan into ground beef or turkey may reduce the potential risk of C. perfringens spore germination and outgrowth during abusive cooling from 54.4 to 7.2 ◦C in 12, 15, or 18 h.

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