Jump to Main Content
Effect of food microstructure on growth dynamics of Listeria monocytogenes in fish-based model systems
- Verheyen, Davy, Bolívar, Araceli, Pérez-Rodríguez, Fernando, Baka, Maria, Skåra, Torstein, Van Impe, Jan F.
- International journal of food microbiology 2018 v.283 pp. 7-13
- Listeria monocytogenes, culture media, droplets, emulsions, food matrix, food pathogens, gels, growth models, liquids, microbial growth, microstructure, physicochemical properties, plankton, specific growth rate, xanthan gum
- Traditionally, predictive growth models for food pathogens are developed based on experiments in broth media, resulting in models which do not incorporate the influence of food microstructure. The use of model systems with various microstructures is a promising concept to get more insight into the influence of food microstructure on microbial dynamics. By means of minimal variation of compositional and physicochemical factors, these model systems can be used to study the isolated effect of certain microstructural aspects on microbial growth, survival and inactivation.In this study, the isolated effect on microbial growth dynamics of Listeria monocytogenes of two food microstructural aspects and one aspect influenced by food microstructure were investigated, i.e., the nature of the food matrix, the presence of fat droplets, and microorganism growth morphology, respectively. To this extent, fish-based model systems with various microstructures were used, i.e., a liquid, a second more viscous liquid system containing xanthan gum, an emulsion, an aqueous gel, and a gelled emulsion. Growth experiments were conducted at 4 and 10 °C, both using homogeneous and surface inoculation (only for the gelled systems).Results regarding the influence of the growth morphology indicated that the lag phase of planktonic cells in the liquid system was similar to the lag phase of submerged colonies in the xanthan system. The lag phase of submerged colonies in each gelled system was considerably longer than the lag phase of surface colonies on these respective systems. The maximum specific growth rate of planktonic cells in the liquid system was significantly lower than for submerged colonies in the xanthan system at 10 °C, while no significant differences were observed at 4 °C. The maximum cell density was higher for submerged colonies than for surface colonies. The nature of the food matrix only exerted an influence on the maximum specific growth rate, which was significantly higher in the viscous systems than in the gelled systems. The presence of a small amount of fat droplets improved the growth of L. monocytogenes at 4 °C, resulting in a shorter lag phase and a higher maximum specific growth rate. The obtained results could be useful in the determination of a set of suitable microstructural parameters for future predictive models that incorporate the influence of food microstructure on microbial dynamics.