Quantifying the hurdle concept by modelling the bacterial growth /no growth interface
McMeekin, TA and Presser, KA and Ratkowsky, DA and Ross, T and Salter, MA and Tienungoon, S, Quantifying the hurdle concept by modelling the bacterial growth /no growth interface, International Journal of Food Microbiology, 55, (1-3) pp. 93-98. ISSN 0168-1605 (2000) [Refereed Article]
The hurdle concept described eloquently over many years by Professor Leistner and his colleagues draws attention to the interaction of factors that affect microbial behaviour in foods. Under some circumstances these effects are additive. Under others the implication is that synergistic interactions lead to a combined effect of greater magnitude than the sum of constraints applied individually. Predictive modelling studies on the combined effects of temperature and water activity and temperature and pH suggest that the effect of these combinations on growth rate is independent. Where the effect of the two factors is interactive rather than independent is at the point where growth ceases - the growth/no growth interface. An interesting and consistent observation is that a very sharp cut off occurs between conditions permitting growth and those preventing growth, allowing those combinations of factors to be defined precisely and modelled. Growth/no growth interface models quantify the effects of various hurdles on the probability of growth and define combinations at which the growth rate is zero or the lag time infinite. Increasing the stringency of one or more hurdles at the interface by only a small amount will significantly decrease the probability of an organism growing. Understanding physiological processes occurring near the growth/no growth interface and changes induced by moving from one side of the interface to the other may well provide insights that can be exploited in a new generation of food preservation techniques with minimal impact on product quality. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.