Acid tolerance of acid-adapted and nonacid-adapted Escherichia coli O157:H7 strains in beef decontamination runoff fluids or on beef tissue.Food Microbiol. 2007 Aug; 24(5):530-8.FM
This study assessed the acid tolerance response (ATR) of stationary phase, acid-adapted (tryptic soy broth [TSB]+1% glucose) or nonacid-adapted (glucose-free TSB) Escherichia coli O157:H7 strains (ATCC43889, ATCC43895, ATCC51658 and EO139), grown individually or in a mixed culture, prior to inoculation of beef or meat decontamination runoff (washings) fluids (acidic [pH 4.95] or nonacidic [pH 7.01]). The inoculated beef was left untreated or treated by dipping for 30s in hot water (75 degrees C) followed by 2% lactic acid (55 degrees C). Inoculated beef samples and washings were stored aerobically at 4 or 15 degrees C for 6d, and at set intervals (0, 2, and 6d) were exposed (for 0, 60, 120, and 180min) to pH 3.5 (adjusted with lactic acid) TSB plus 0.6% yeast extract. Overall, there were no significant (P0.05) differences in responses of cultures prepared as individual or mixed strains. Decontamination of meat did not affect the subsequent ATR of E. coli O157:H7 other than resulting in lower initial pathogen levels exposed to acidic conditions. In this study, E. coli O157:H7 appeared to become more tolerant to acid following incubation in acidic washings of sublethal pH (4.89-5.22) compared to nonacidic washings (pH 6.97-7.41) at 4 degrees C or in both types of washings incubated at 15 degrees C. The ATR of the pathogen inoculated into washings was enhanced when cells were previously acid-adapted and incubated at 4 degrees C. Similarly, the ATR on meat was increased by previous acid-adaptation of the inoculum in broth and enhanced by storage at 4 degrees C. Populations on treated meat were consistently lower than those on untreated meat during storage and following exposure to acid. Although on day-0 there were no significant (P0.05) differences in ATR between acid-adapted and nonacid-adapted populations on meat, acid-adapted cells displayed consistently higher resistance through day-6. This suggests that acid-adapted E. coli O157:H7 introduced on meat may become resistant to subsequent lactic acid exposure following storage at 4 degrees C.