The Effectiveness of Potassium Lactate and Lactic Acid Against Campylobacter Species and Psychrotrophic Bacteria


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Virginia Tech


This study examined the efficacy of potassium lactate and lactic acid to control Campylobacter sp. and psychrotrophic bacteria on chicken. The objectives of the two studies conducted were to determine the optimal combination of potassium lactate and lactic acid to inhibit Campylobacter sp. in a challenge study and to inhibit naturally occurring Campylobacter sp. and psychrotrophic bacteria in a shelf life study.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts were injected with three levels of potassium lactate (0,1.5,2%), in conjunction with four levels of lactic acid. Lactic acid was injected (0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3%) as well as applied directly to the surface (0.1% of weight of chicken breast). The chicken breasts were surface inoculated with a mixture of Campylobacter sp. and sampled over a period of 28 days at 11oC. The greatest inhibition was found using 2% potassium lactate in conjunction with any level of lactic acid (injected) or 0.1% lactic acid (surface application). Results of this study indicate that potassium lactate and lactic acid can be used to control the growth and/or survival of Campylobacter sp. on boneless chicken breasts.

The second study eliminated the 1.5% potassium lactate and 0.2% and 0.3% lactic acid treatments and chicken breasts were not inoculated with Campylobacter sp.. This 4oC shelf life study occurred over 32 days, testing for Campylobacter species, psychrotrophic bacteria, as well as testing for sensory perceptions of color and odor changes in the chicken. The most effective treatment was the 2% potassium lactate-0.1% lactic acid surface treatment, demonstrating the most inhibition against both target populations. This treatment also had the greatest impact upon the odor of the chicken breasts. This treatment had the greatest difference from control samples, which was achieved by the inhibition of spoilage organisms on the chicken breasts.



sensory, lactate, Campylobacter sp., psychrotrophic, lactic acid, chicken