Culturability of Clostridium botulinum Spores under Different Germination Conditions, Sublethal Heat Treatments, and in the Presence of Nisin

  • Chung, Yoon-Kyung (Department of Food Science and Technology, The Ohio State University) ;
  • Yousef, Ahmed E. (Department of Food Science and Technology, The Ohio State University)
  • Published : 2007.12.31


Thermal resistance and heat activation characteristics of Clostridium botulinum ATCC 25763 spores were evaluated. The effects of nisin and pH on the activation and subsequent germination were also investigated. Spores of C. botulinum were not inactivated by heat treatments up to $92^{\circ}C$ for 2 hr. Heat treatment at $85^{\circ}C$ for 90 min was selected as the optimal activation condition based on monitoring subsequent germination. L-alanine alone or in combination with L-cysteine was not sufficient to germinate the spores of this strain. Tryptone-Peptone- Glucose-Yeast extract (TPGY) broth supplemented with L-alanine was used as a suitable germination medium. Decreasing pH of activation suspension increased the degree of phase darkening, i.e., germination. In addition, the presence of nisin during activation increased the degree of phase darkening. The majority of spore populations were dormant at a pH of less than 2.8, and these populations required heat activation to increase the culturability on TPGY agar medium. However, extended heating in the presence of nisin at pH 2.8 decreased the spore count; however, heat activation was less necessary at pH 3.4, compared at pH 2.8.


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