A study was done to determine if various organic acids differ in their inhibitory or lethal activity against acid-adapted and unadapted Escherichia coli O157:H7 cells. E. coli O157:H7 strain E0139, isolated from venison jerky, was grown in tryptic soy broth (TSB) and in TSB supplemented with 1% glucose (TSBG) for 18 h at 37°C, then plated on tryptic soy agar (TSA) acidified with malic, citric, lactic, or acetic acid at pH 5.4, 5.1, 4.8, 4.5, 4.2, and 3.9. Regardless of whether cells were grown in TSB or TSBG, visible colonies were not formed when plated on TSA acidified with acetic, lactic, malic, or citric acids at pH values of ≤5.4, ≤4.5, ≤4.2, or ≤4.2, respectively. Cells not adapted to reduced pH did not form colonies on TSA acidified with lactic acid (pH 3.9) or acetic acid (pH 3.9 and 4.2); however, a portion of acid-adapted cells remained viable on TSA containing lactic acid (pH 3.9) or acetic acid (pH 4.2) and could be recovered in TSB. Inactivation of acid-adapted cells was less than that of unadapted cells in TSB acidified at pH 3.9 with citric, lactic, or acetic acid and at pH 3.4 with malic acid. Significantly (P ≤ 0.05) higher numbers of acid-adapted cells, compared with unadapted cells, were detected 12 h after inoculation of TSB acidified with acetic acid at pH 3.9; in TSB containing lactic acid (pH 3.9), the number of acid-adapted cells was higher than the number of unadapted cells after 5 h. In TSB acidified at pH 3.9 with citric acid or pH 3.4 with malic acid, significantly higher numbers of acid-adapted cells survived. This study shows that organic acids differ in their inhibitory or lethal activity against acid-adapted and unadapted E. coli O157:H7 cells, and acid-adapted cells are more tolerant than unadapted cells when subsequently exposed to reduced pH caused by these acids.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science