Microwave pasteurization of apple juice: Modeling the inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium at 80-90 °C.Food Microbiol. 2020 May; 87:103382.FM
Although due to their acidity some fruit juices are considered safe, several outbreaks have been reported. For processing fruit juices, microwave heating offers advantages such as shorter come-up time, faster and uniform heating, and energy efficiency. Thus, it could be a beneficial alternative to conventional pasteurization. The objective of this study was to study the inactivation kinetics of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium under microwave pasteurization at temperatures between 80 and 90 °C, i.e., at conditions that are employed in conventional pasteurization. Inoculated juices were treated at different power levels (600 W, 720 W) and treatment times (5s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 25s). Time-temperature profiles were obtained by fiber-optic sensors in contact with the samples allowing continuous data collection. The log-logistic and Arrhenius equations were used to account for the influence of the temperature history; thus, resulting in two different modeling approaches that were compared in terms of their prediction abilities. Survival kinetics including non-isothermal conditions were described by a non-linear ordinary differential equation that was numerically solved by the Runge-Kutta method (ode45 in MATLAB ®). The lsqcurvefit function (MATLAB®) was employed to estimate the corresponding survival parameters, which were obtained from freshly made apple juice, whereas the prediction ability of these parameters was evaluated on commercial apple juices. Results indicated that inactivation increased with power level, temperature, and treatment time reaching a microbial reduction up to 7 Log10 cycles. The study is relevant to the food industry because it provides a quantitative tool to predict survival characteristics of pathogens at other non-isothermal processing conditions.