2007 journal article

Feasibility of utilizing bioindicators for testing microbial inactivation in sweetpotato purees processed with a continuous-flow microwave system

JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE, 72(5), E235–E242.

co-author countries: United States of America 🇺🇸
author keywords: aseptic; bloindicators; continuous-flow; microwave; purees
MeSH headings : Bacillus / growth & development; Bacillus subtilis / growth & development; Colony Count, Microbial; Feasibility Studies; Food Contamination / analysis; Food Handling / methods; Food Microbiology; Hot Temperature; Ipomoea batatas / microbiology; Microwaves; Reproducibility of Results; Sensitivity and Specificity; Spores, Bacterial; Sterilization / methods; Time Factors
Source: Web Of Science
Added: August 6, 2018

Continuous-flow microwave heating has potential in aseptic processing of various food products, including purees from sweetpotatoes and other vegetables. Establishing the feasibility of a new processing technology for achieving commercial sterility requires evaluating microbial inactivation. This study aimed to assess the feasibility of using commercially available plastic pouches of bioindicators containing spores of Geobacillius stearothermophilus ATCC 7953 and Bacillus subtilis ATCC 35021 for evaluating the degree of microbial inactivation achieved in vegetable purees processed in a continuous-flow microwave heating unit. Sweetpotato puree seeded with the bioindicators was subjected to 3 levels of processing based on the fastest particles: undertarget process (F(0) approximately 0.65), target process (F(0) approximately 2.8), and overtarget process (F(0) approximately 10.10). After initial experiments, we found it was necessary to engineer a setup with 2 removable tubes connected to the continuous-flow microwave system to facilitate the injection of indicators into the unit without interrupting the puree flow. Using this approach, 60% of the indicators injected into the system could be recovered postprocess. Spore survival after processing, as evaluated by use of growth indicator dyes and standard plating methods, verified inactivation of the spores in sweetpotato puree. The log reduction results for B. subtilis were equivalent to the predesigned degrees of sterilization (F(0)). This study presents the first report suggesting that bioindicators such as the flexible, food-grade plastic pouches can be used for microbial validation of commercial sterilization in aseptic processing of foods using a continuous-flow microwave system.