Research – Thermal Inactivation Kinetics of Salmonella and Enterococcus faecium NRRL-B2354 on whole chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.)

Journal of Food Protection

Intervention technologies for inactivating Salmonella in whole chia seeds are currently limited. The determination of the thermal inactivation kinetics of Salmonella o n chia seeds and selection of an appropriate nonpathogenic surrogate will provide a knowledge foundation for selecting and optimizing thermal pasteurization processes for chia seeds. In this study, chia seed samples from three separate production lots were inoculated with a five strain Salmonella cocktail or Enterococcus faecium NRRL-B2354 and equilibrated to 0.53 aw at room temperature (25 °C). After equilibration for at least three days, the inoculated seeds were subjected to isothermal treatments at 80, 85, or 90 °C. Samples were taken out at six timepoints and enumerated for survivors. Initial dilution of whole chia seeds was performed in a filter bag at a 1:30 ratio after it was shown to have similar recovery to grinding the seeds. Survivor data were fitted to consolidated models consisting of a primary model (log-linear or Weibull) and one secondary model (Bigelow). E. faecium exhibited higher thermal resistance than Salmonella , suggesting its suitability as a conservative nonpathogenic surrogate. The Weibull model was a better fit for the survivor data than the log-linear model for both bacteria due to its lower root mean square error and corrected Akaike’s Information Criterion values. Measurements of lipid oxidation and fatty acid content indicated a few statistically different values compared to the control samples, but the overall difference in magnitudes were relatively small. The thermal inactivation kinetics of Salmonella and E. faecium o n chia seeds as presented in this study can serve as a basis for developing thermal pasteurization processes for chia seeds.

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