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Modeling of Pathogen Survival during Simulated Gastric Digestion

Koseki, Shige, Mizuno, Yasuko, Sotome, Itaru
Applied and environmental microbiology 2011 v.77 no.3 pp. 1021-1032
Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Weibull statistics, bacteria, digestion, eggs, equations, food processing, gastric juice, hamburgers, lettuce, logit analysis, mathematical models, pH, pathogen survival, pathogens, prediction, stomach, tuna
The objective of the present study was to develop a mathematical model of pathogenic bacterial inactivation kinetics in a gastric environment in order to further understand a part of the infectious dose-response mechanism. The major bacterial pathogens Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Salmonella spp. were examined by using simulated gastric fluid adjusted to various pH values. To correspond to the various pHs in a stomach during digestion, a modified logistic differential equation model and the Weibull differential equation model were examined. The specific inactivation rate for each pathogen was successfully described by a square-root model as a function of pH. The square-root models were combined with the modified logistic differential equation to obtain a complete inactivation curve. Both the modified logistic and Weibull models provided a highly accurate fitting of the static pH conditions for every pathogen. However, while the residuals plots of the modified logistic model indicated no systematic bias and/or regional prediction problems, the residuals plots of the Weibull model showed a systematic bias. The modified logistic model appropriately predicted the pathogen behavior in the simulated gastric digestion process with actual food, including cut lettuce, minced tuna, hamburger, and scrambled egg. Although the developed model enabled us to predict pathogen inactivation during gastric digestion, its results also suggested that the ingested bacteria in the stomach would barely be inactivated in the real digestion process. The results of this study will provide important information on a part of the dose-response mechanism of bacterial pathogens.