Inactivation Of Salmonella And Surrogate Bacteria On Cashews And Macadamia Nuts Exposed To Saturated Steam And Propylene Oxide Treatments
Saunders, Thomas Philip
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Saturated steam (SS) and propylene oxide (PPO) fumigation are two common methods to improve microbiological quality and safety of tree nuts. Validation of these processes is needed to ensure adequate control of bacterial pathogens. Since pathogens cannot be studied in food processing environments, surrogates with resistance comparable to the pathogens needed to be identified. The objective was to investigate the suitability of Enterococcus faecium, Pediococcus acidilactici, and Staphylococcus carnosus as surrogate bacteria for Salmonella spp. on whole cashews and macadamia nuts, processed with SS or PPO. Whole cashews and macadamia nuts were co-inoculated with a cocktail of Salmonella enterica and one of the three potential surrogates. Nuts were dried to original aw, packaged in poly-woven bags (2.3 kg) and commercially processed using vacuum assisted steam at 80 ͦ C or PPO fumigation. Salmonella and the potential surrogates were enumerated by serial dilution, and plated onto TSA with overlay of XLT-4 (Salmonella) or media selective for the potential surrogates. Mean log reductions (CFU/g) of Salmonella and each potential surrogate were compared using a paired T-test. SS results: reduction of Salmonella (6.0 ± 0.14) was significantly larger than E. faecium (4.3± 0.12), or P. acidilactici (3.7± 0.14) on whole cashews. Salmonella (5.9 ± 0.18) was significantly larger than P. acidilactici (4.4± 0.18) on whole macadamia nuts. PPO results: reduction of Salmonella (7.3 ± 0.19) was significantly greater than E. faecium (6.4± 0.31), or P. acidilactici (6.3± 0.33) on whole macadamia nuts. Reduction of Salmonella was significantly greater than E. faecium and P. acidilactici reduction on cashews. P. acidilactici may be considered a surrogate for Salmonella reduction on whole macadamia nuts and whole cashews processed using SS at 80 ͦ C. E. faecium and P. acidilactici may be considered surrogates for Salmonella reduction on whole macadamia nuts and whole cashews processed using PPO. Reduction of St. carnosus exceeded that of Salmonella indicating it is not a suitable surrogate for Salmonella using either processing intervention.
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