Food Science and Technology Department


Department of Food Science and Technology: Faculty Publications

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Deliephan, A.; Dhakal, J.; Subramanyam, B.; Aldrich, C.G. Use of Organic Acid Mixtures Containing 2-Hydroxy-4-(Methylthio) Butanoic Acid (HMTBa) to Mitigate Salmonella enterica, Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and Aspergillus flavus in Pet Food Kibbles. Animals 2023, 13, 877. 10.3390/ani13050877


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Post-processing operations of extruded pet food kibbles involve coating the product with fats and flavorings. These processes increase the risk for cross-contamination with food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), and mycotoxin-producing molds such as Aspergillus spp. after the thermal kill step. In this study, the antimicrobial effects of two types of organic acid mixtures containing 2-hydroxy-4-(methylthio) butanoic acid (HMTBa), Activate DA™ and Activate US WD-MAX™, against Salmonella enterica, STEC and Aspergillus flavus when used as a coating on pet food kibbles were evaluated. Using canola oil and dry dog digest as fat and flavor coatings, the efficacy of Activate DA (HMTBa + fumaric acid + benzoic acid) at 0%, 1% and 2%, and Activate US WD-MAX (HMTBa + lactic acid + phosphoric acid) at 0%, 0.5% and 1% was tested on kibbles inoculated with a cocktail of S. enterica serovars (Enteritidis, Heidelberg and Typhimurium) or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) serovars (O121, and O26) at 37 oC for 0, 12, 24, 48, 72 h, 30 and 60 days. Similarly, their efficacy was tested against A. flavus at 25 oC for 0, 3, 7, 14, 21, 28 and 35 days. Activate DA at 2% and Activate US WD-MAX at 1% reduced Salmonella counts by ~3 logs after 12 h and 4–4.6 logs after 24 h. Similarly, STEC counts were reduced by ~2 logs and 3 logs after 12 h and 24 h, respectively. Levels of A. flavus did not vary up to 7 days, and afterwards started to decline by >2 logs in 14 days, and up to 3.8-log reduction in 28 days for Activate DA and Activate US WD-MAX at 2% and 1%, respectively. The results suggest that the use of these organic acid mixtures containing HMTBa during kibble coating may mitigate post-processing enteric pathogen and mold contamination in pet food kibbles, with Activate US WD-MAX being effective at a lower concentration (0.5–1%) compared to Activate DA.

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