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Journal of Food Safety
Vol.
33, No. 3, 2013; Pages: 302 - 312

The Effect of Salt Reduction on the Growth of Food Spoilage Bacteria in Model Broth Systems and Salt-Adjusted Ready Meals

Edel Durack, Mercedes Alonso-Gomez, Martin G. Wilkinson

Department of Life Sciences, University of Limerick, Castletroy, Limerick, Ireland.
Abstract

The effect of reducing salt levels on the growth of food spoilage bacteria was investigated. In broth, no significant differences in growth of all strains were apparent at the lower salt concentrations (0–1.5% salt), while at 3.0% salt (w/v), final populations of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas fluorescens and Lactobacillus plantarum were reduced. In three experimental ready meals, the effect of varying the salt levels over the range of 3.0–0.2% (w/w) was investigated for the growth of E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Generally, little inhibition of growth of either strain was noted, except for E. coli where populations were ∼1 log10 cycle lower only in the low salt chicken curry meal at highest added salt content. Overall, decreasing salt levels from ∼3% downward did not markedly affect the growth of any of the bacterial strains studied in either broth or ready meals.

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