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International Journal of Food Microbiology
158, No. 1, 2012; Pages: 1 - 8

Tracking spore-forming bacteria in food: From natural biodiversity to selection by processes

Florence Postollec, Anne-Gabrielle Mathot, Muriel Bernard, Marie-Laure Divanac'h, Sonia Pavan, Danièle Sohier

ADRIA Développement-UMT 08.3 PHYSI'Opt, Creac'h Gwen, 29196 Quimper, France.

Sporeforming bacteria are ubiquitous in the environment and exhibit a wide range of diversity leading to their natural prevalence in foodstuff. The state of the art of sporeformer prevalence in ingredients and food was investigated using a multiparametric PCR-based tool that enables simultaneous detection and identification of various genera and species mostly encountered in food, i.e. Alicyclobacillus, Anoxybacillus flavithermus, Bacillus, B. cereus group, B. licheniformis, B. pumilus, B. sporothermodurans, B. subtilis, Brevibacillus laterosporus, Clostridium, Geobacillus stearothermophilus, Moorella and Paenibacillus species. In addition, 16S rDNA sequencing was used to extend identification to other possibly present contaminants. A total of 90 food products, with or without visible trace of spoilage were analysed, i.e. 30 egg-based products, 30 milk and dairy products and 30 canned food and ingredients. Results indicated that most samples contained one or several of the targeted genera and species. For all three tested food categories, 30 to 40% of products were contaminated with both Bacillus and Clostridium. The percentage of contaminations associated with Clostridium or Bacillus represented 100% in raw materials, 72% in dehydrated ingredients and 80% in processed foods. In the last two product types, additional thermophilic contaminants were identified (A. flavithermus, Geobacillus spp., Thermoanaerobacterium spp. and Moorella spp.). These results suggest that selection, and therefore the observed (re)-emergence of unexpected sporeforming contaminants in food might be favoured by the use of given food ingredients and food processing technologies.

Keywords: Spore-forming; Bacillus; Prevalence; Food spoilage; Industrial processes



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