Staphylococcus aureus is a gram-positive, enterotoxin-producing coccus. It is a hardy organism and known to survive over a wide range of water activities, pH values, and temperatures. The objective of this study was to model the survival or gradual inactivation of S. aureus ATCC 13565 in intermediate moisture foods (IMFs). Various initial concentrations (∼101, 102, 103, and 104 CFU/g) were used to inoculate three different IMFs (beefsteak, bread, and chicken pockets). Viable counts were determined up to 60 days using tryptic soy agar. Inoculum size did not influence the survival or gradual inactivation of S. aureus in these foods. The rate of change (increase or decrease) in log CFU/day was calculated for every consecutive pair of data points and by linear regression for each inactivation curve. Both consecutive pair and linear regression rates of change were fit to logistic distributions (with parameters α and β) for each food. Based on the distribution parameters, survival or gradual inactivation of S. aureus was predicted by computer simulation. The simulations indicated an overall decline in S. aureus population over time, although a small fraction of samples in the consecutive pair simulation showed a slight population increase even after 60 days, consistent with the observed data. Simulation results were compared to predictions from other computer models. The models of Stewart et al. were fail-safe, predicting the possibility of significant growth only after >3,000 days. The USDA pathogen modeling program predictions were found to be fail-dangerous, predicting declines at least four times faster than observed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Physiology (medical)
- Intermediate moisture foods
- Probability distribution functions
- Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 13565