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Short communication: Fate of major foodborne pathogens and Bacillus cereus spores in sterilized and non-sterilized Korean turbid rice wine (Makgeolli)

Kim, S.A., Park, H.J., Lee, S.H., Hwang, I.G., Rhee, M.S.
Food control 2014 v.39 pp. 139-145
Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella Typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, alcohols, bacteria, biological hazards, food pathogens, pH, prediction, rice wines, spores, storage temperature, vegetative cells
The objective of this study was to examine the fate of foodborne pathogens (Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Staphylococcus aureus) and B. cereus spores in Korean turbid rice wine (Makgeolli). Samples of sterilized and non-sterilized turbid rice wine were inoculated with each of the vegetative bacteria or B. cereus spores at 3–4 log CFU/ml. The samples were stored at 5 °C or 22 °C, and bacterial survival was monitored over 28 days. Despite the harsh environment (alcohol content: 6–7% and pH: 3.43–3.98), long-term survival of pathogens was observed. Survival time was different depending on the type of beverage (pathogens survived longer in sterilized wine than in non-sterilized wine), cellular state (spores survived longer than vegetative cells), species (B. cereus survived longer than other species), and storage temperature (pathogens survived longer at 5 °C then at 22 °C). The number of B. cereus spores remained constant at both temperatures. The vegetative B. cereus population declined rapidly within 1 day, but then remained steady for up to 28 days (1.20–1.55 log CFU/ml in sterile wine). These results indicate that B. cereus formed spores that survived for a long time; therefore, it is possible that B. cereus may exist as spores in turbid rice wine. E. coli O157:H7, L. monocytogenes, S. Typhimurium, and S. aureus survived for up to 28, 14, 14, and 14 days, respectively, in sterilized wine at 5 °C. Thus, the health implications of the long-term survival of pathogens in alcoholic beverages should be carefully considered. The results provide new information that may be useful in predicting the potential microbiological hazards associated with turbid rice wine.