Influence of Various Commercial Packaging Conditions on Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to Irradiation by Electron Beam Versus Gamma Rays
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Irradiation of ground beef patties inoculated with the organism Escherichia coli O157:H7 was performed either by gamma rays from a cobalt 60 source or by electron beam generated by a linear accelerator. Patties were packaged in one of the following materials: nylon/polyethylene bags, Saran/polyester/polyethylene bags (PM2), or Saran overwrap with a Styrofoam tray inside. Bags were sealed in air or under vacuum and were irradiated at either 5 or -15 degrees C. Average D10 values (dose required to inactivate 90% of a microbial population) ranged from 0.27 to 0.63 kGy, depending on the conditions. Overall, higher D10 values (P<0.0001) were obtained upon irradiation at -15 degrees C as compared with 5 degrees C. Cells inoculated in samples packaged in PM2 had the highest D10 values, but only if irradiated by electron beam at -15 degrees C (P<0.001). Since PM2 had the lowest oxygen permeability rate and since the temperature was too low for radicals to migrate easily, these conditions may have minimized the effect of oxygen- and water-derived radicals on microbial survival. Irradiation by gamma rays resulted in higher D10 values (P<0.047) than irradiation by electron beam, with the highest values being observed at -15 degrees C. Differences may be attributed to dose rate (1.0 kGy/h for gamma, 17 kGy/min for electron beam) since it is possible that, at low dose rates, microbial enzymes may have more time to repair damage to the cell due to irradiation, resulting in higher D10 values.
author list (cited authors)
LÓPEZ-GONZÁLEZ, V., MURANO, P. S., BRENNAN, R. E., & MURANO, E. A.