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Food Microbiology
Vol. 49, 2015, Pages: 226–230

A gaseous acetic acid treatment to disinfect fenugreek seeds and black pepper inoculated with pathogenic and spoilage bacteria

Daisuke Nei, Katsuyoshi Enomoto, Nobutaka Nakamura

National Food Research Institute, Kannondai-2-1-12, Tsukuba 305-8642, Japan.


Contamination of spices by pathogenic and/or spoilage bacteria can be deleterious to consumer's health and cause deterioration of foods, and inactivation of such bacteria is necessary for the food industry. The present study examined the effect of gaseous acetic acid treatment in reducing Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Enteritidis and Bacillus subtilis populations inoculated on fenugreek seeds and black pepper. Treatment with gaseous acetic acid at 0.3 mmol/L, 0.6 mmol/L and 4.7 mmol/L for 1–3 h significantly reduced the populations of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Enteritidis on black pepper and fenugreek seeds at 55 °C (p < 0.05). The gas treatments at 4.7 mmol/L were more effective in inactivating the pathogens than the treatment at 0.3 mmol/L. An approximately 5.0 log reduction was obtained after 3 h of treatment with 4.7 mmol/L acetic acid. No significant reductions in the population of B. subtilis spores inoculated on fenugreek seeds and black pepper were obtained after the gas treatments at 0.3 mmol/L or 0.6 mmol/L (p > 0.05). However, the gas treatment at 4.7 mmol/L significantly reduced B. subtilis spores (p < 0.05), and 4.0 log CFU/g and 3.5 log CFU/g reductions on fenugreek seeds and black pepper, respectively, were obtained after 3 h of treatment.

Keywords: Spice; Escherichia coli O157:H7; Salmonella; Bacillus subtilis; Fenugreek.

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