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Survey of bacterial populations present in US-produced linerboard with high recycle content

Namjoshi, K., Johnson, S., Montello, P., Pullman, G.S.
Journal of applied microbiology 2010 v.108 no.2 pp. 416-427
Bacillus cereus, Bacillus circulans, Bacillus coagulans, Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus megaterium, Bacillus pumilus, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus thuringiensis, Brevibacillus brevis, Cellulomonas flavigena, Cellulomonas turbata, Escherichia coli, Paenibacillus macerans, Paenibacillus pabuli, Paenibacillus polymyxa, Salmonella, Shigella, coliform bacteria, fatty acid methyl esters, heat tolerance, human health, paperboard, recycled materials, recycling, surveys, United States
To survey paperboard products from 17 US mills for bacterial populations and for bacteria potentially harmful to human health. Culturable aerobic bacteria were isolated from paperboard products using selective and nonselective medium. Resulting colonies from samples from three regions of the United States were identified using fatty acid methyl ester analysis. Percentages of bacteria species found were Bacillus megaterium (47), Bacillus licheniformis (15), Bacillus pumilus (12), Paenibacillus macerans (5), Paenibacillus pabuli (3), Bacillus subtilis (2), Bacillus cereus (2), Bacillus coagulans (1), Bacillus circulans (1), Bacillus brevis (1), Bacillus thuringiensis (1), Paenibacillus polymyxa (1), Cellulomonas turbata (1), Cellulomonas flavigena (1), unidentified Bacillus sp. (3) and unidentified bacteria (1). Recycled paperboard contained high populations of bacteria, and a positive correlation was found between recycle content and bacterial populations. Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Shigella or confirmed coliform bacteria were not found in any product. Populations of bacteria did not differ significantly from original counts over a 4-month period of dry storage, indicating that bacteria persist in paperboard over long periods and may re-enter the recycling process. The predominance of heat-tolerant endospore-forming bacteria explains the high bacteria counts found in paperboard made from recycled materials.