eCite Digital Repository

Quantitative Microbiology: A Basis for Food Safety


McMeekin, TA and Brown, JL and Krist, KA and Miles, DW and Neumeyer, K and Nichols, DS and Olley, J and Presser, KA and Ratkowsky, DA and Ross, T and Salter, MA and Soontranon, S, Quantitative Microbiology: A Basis for Food Safety, Emerging Infectious Diseases, 3, (4) pp. 541-549. ISSN 1080-6040 (1997) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.3201/eid0304.970419


Because microorganisms are easily dispersed, display physiologic diversity, and tolerate extreme conditions, they are ubiquitous and may contaminate and grow in many food products. The behavior of microbial populations in foods (growth, survival, or death) is determined by the properties of the food (e.g., water activity and pH) and the storage conditions (e.g., temperature, relative humidity, and atmosphere). The effect of these properties can be predicted by mathematical models derived from quantitative studies on microbial populations. Temperature abuse is a major factor contributing to foodborne disease; monitoring temperature history during food processing, distribution, and storage is a simple, effective means to reduce the incidence of food poisoning. Interpretation of temperature profiles by computer programs based on predictive models allows informed decisions on the shelf life and safety of foods. In- or on-package temperature indicators require further development to accurately predict microbial behavior. We suggest a basis for a "universal" temperature indicator. This article emphasizes the need to combine kinetic and probability approaches to modeling and suggests a method to define the bacterial growth/no growth interface. Advances in controlling foodborne pathogens depend on understanding the pathogens' physiologic responses to growth constraints, including constraints conferring increased survival capacity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Engineering
Research Group:Manufacturing engineering
Research Field:Manufacturing safety and quality
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Food safety
UTAS Author:McMeekin, TA (Professor Thomas McMeekin)
UTAS Author:Brown, JL (Dr Janelle Brown)
UTAS Author:Krist, KA (Dr Karen Anne Krist)
UTAS Author:Miles, DW (Mr David Wayne Miles)
UTAS Author:Neumeyer, K (Ms Karina Neumeyer)
UTAS Author:Nichols, DS (Dr David Nichols)
UTAS Author:Olley, J (Professor June Olley)
UTAS Author:Presser, KA (Ms Kirsty Presser)
UTAS Author:Ratkowsky, DA (Dr David Ratkowsky)
UTAS Author:Ross, T (Professor Tom Ross)
UTAS Author:Salter, MA (Mr Salter)
UTAS Author:Soontranon, S (Ms Suwunna Soontranon)
ID Code:10773
Year Published:1997
Web of Science® Times Cited:83
Deposited By:Agricultural Science
Deposited On:1997-08-01
Last Modified:2011-08-11

Repository Staff Only: item control page