Inhibition of growth of nonproteolytic Clostridium botulinum type B in sous vide cooked meat products is achieved by using thermal processing but not nisin

Miia Lindström (Corresponding Author), Mirja Mokkila, Eija Skyttä, Eija Hyytiä-Trees, Liisa Lähteenmäki, Sebastian Hielm, Raija Ahvenainen, Hannu Korkeala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The safety of refrigerated processed foods of extended durability (REPFEDs) with respect to nonproteolytic Clostridium botulinum is under continuous evaluation. In the present study, mild (P7.0(85.0) values 0 to 2 min [P, pasteurization value; z-value 7.0 degrees C; reference temperature 85.0 degrees C]) and increased (P7.0(85.0) values 67 to 515 min) heat treatments were evaluated in relation to survival of nonproteolytic C. botulinum type B spores in sous vide processed ground beef and pork cubes. The use of two concentrations of nisin in inhibition of growth and toxin production by nonproteolytic C. botulinum in the same products was also evaluated. A total of 96 samples were heat processed and analyzed for C. botulinum by BoNT/B gene-specific polmerase chain reaction and for botulinum toxin by a mouse bioassay after storage of 14 to 28 days at 4 and 8 degrees C. Predictably, after mild processing all samples of both products showed botulinal growth, and one ground beef sample became toxic at 8 degrees C. The increased heat processing, equivalent to 67 min at 85 degrees C. resulted in growth but not toxin production of C. botulinum in one ground beef sample in 21 days at 8 degrees C: in the pork cube samples no growth was detected. The increased heating of both products resulted in higher sensory quality than the milder heat treatment. Nisin did not inhibit the growth of nonproteolytic C. botulinum in either product; growth was detected in both products at 4 and 8 degrees C, and ground beef became toxic with all nisin levels within 21 to 28 days at 8 degrees C. Aerobic and lactic acid bacterial counts were reduced by the addition of nisin at 4 degrees C. The study demonstrates that the mild processing temperatures commonly employed in sous vide technology do not eliminate nonproteolytic C. botulinum type B spores. The intensity of each heat treatment needs to be carefully evaluated individually for each product to ensure product safety in relation to nonproteolytic C. botulinum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)838-844
JournalJournal of Food Protection
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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