Research – Post-Cooking Growth and Survival of Bacillus cereus Spores in Rice and Their Enzymatic Activities Leading to Food Spoilage Potential



Bacillus cereus strains vary in their heat resistance, post-processing survival and growth capacity in foods. Hence, this study was carried out to determine the effect of cooking on the survival and growth of eight B. cereus spores in rice at different temperatures in terms of their toxigenic profiles and extracellular enzyme activity. Samples of rice inoculated with different B. cereus spores were cooked and stored at 4 °C, 25 °C and 30 °C for up to 7 days, 48 h and 24 h, respectively. Out of eight B. cereus strains, four and three spore strains were able to grow at 30 °C and 25 °C post-cooking, respectively. Rapid growth was observed after a minimum of 6 h of incubation at 30 °C. All strains possessed proteolytic activity, whereas lipolytic and amylolytic activities were exhibited by 50% and 12.5% of the strains, respectively. The post-cooking survival and growth capacity of the B. cereus strains appeared to be independent of their toxigenic profiles, whereas extracellular enzymatic activities were required for their vegetative growth. Due to the B. cereus spores’ abilities to survive cooking and return to their active cellular form, great care should be taken when handling ready-to-eat foods.

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