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High hydrostatic pressure and biopreservation of dry-cured ham to meet the Food Safety Objectives for Listeria monocytogenes

Hereu, Anna, Bover-Cid, Sara, Garriga, Margarita, Aymerich, Teresa
International journal of food microbiology 2012 v.154 no.3 pp. 107-112
Listeria monocytogenes, alcohols, biopreservation, food safety objective, ham, high pressure treatment, lipid content, lipids, margin of safety, nisin, packaging, pathogens, water activity
This work aimed to evaluate the effect of nisin application (biopreservation) combined with high hydrostatic pressure processing (HHP) on the behavior of Listeria monocytogenes CTC1034 intentionally inoculated (at ca. 10⁷cells/g) onto the surface of ready-to-eat (RTE) sliced dry-cured ham. Two types of dry-cured ham, which had different water activities and fat contents were studied (aw of 0.92 and 14.25% fat and aw of 0.88 and 33.26% fat). Three batches were prepared for each type of product: (C) control, without nisin; (N) nisin directly applied (200AU/cm²) and (F) nisin applied through active packaging, polyvinyl alcohol films with 200AU/cm². Half of the samples were pressurized at 600MPa for 5min. Counts of L. monocytogenes were periodically monitored throughout 60days of storage at 8°C. The physico-chemical characteristics of the products enabled the survival of L. monocytogenes, but it was significantly reduced by the presence of nisin. The effect of biopreservation was greater when applied directly to the surface and in the product with lower water activity in comparison with the active packaging and the high water activity products, respectively. The immediate inactivation of L. monocytogenes by HHP ranged from 1.82 to 3.85Log units, depending on the type of dry-cured ham. The lower the water activity, the less was the inactivation induced by HHP, both immediately and during storage. The reduction of L. monocytogenes immediately after HHP and during storage was more evident in batches with nisin applied directly to the surface of the product. The pathogen was not detected in some samples from day 5 of storage in the product with higher water activity. The effect of nisin applied through active packaging was lower than the direct application. The results of the present study indicated that HHP, as post-processing listericidal treatment, is more effective (both immediately and long term) than the use of nisin as an antimicrobial measure. However, the both hurdles combined (i.e. biopreservation and HHP) provided a wider margin of safety in the control of L. monocytogenes during the storage of RTE cured meat products.