Research – Control of Bacillus weihenstephanensis in Pasteurized Liquid Whole Eggs Formulated with Nisin

Journal of Food Protection

Bacillus weihenstephanensis can grow at refrigeration temperature and cause food poisoning. It has been isolated from liquid whole egg products. The moderate heat used for pasteurization of liquid egg products is ineffective for killing spore-forming bacteria including Bacillus. Available predictive models and a pretrial study in broth suggested the potential for growth of Bacillus spp. under the tested conditions. Hence, hurdles such as storage of product below 4°C or use of preservatives would be needed to ensure the food safety of pasteurized egg products. This study evaluated the growth inhibition of B. weihenstephanensis in pasteurized liquid whole egg product formulated with 6.25 ppm nisin during storage at refrigerated and abuse refrigerated temperatures for a total 13 weeks, in three replicate trials. At day 0, the product had a pH of 7.52±0.29, while background microflora such as aerobic plate counts, presumptive B. cereus, and yeast and molds were <10 CFU/g. Product inoculated with target 2.5 log10 CFU/g of B. weihenstephanensis, stored at 4°C for 4 weeks and subsequently at 7 or 10°C for 9 weeks exhibited no growth in all three replicate trials.  Average counts reduced (p<0.05) by at least one-log10 in six weeks in all samples stored at either 7 or 10°C. Similarly, growth of total plate counts, presumptive Bacillus spp., yeast and mold counts was not observed in uninoculated controls stored at 4°C for 4 weeks and subsequently at 7 or 10°C for 9 weeks. Visual and odor evaluation performed at each sampling time point showed no abnormalities. This study assessed the efficacy of maximum allowed level of nisin for use in pasteurized liquid whole eggs and validated the inhibition of B. weihenstephanensis in the product for an extended shelf life of up to 13 weeks.

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