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Monitoring the sensorial and microbiological quality of pasteurized white asparagus at different storage temperatures



Changes in sensory quality and proliferation of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms in pasteurized white asparagus were measured as a function of storage temperature. The main sensorial attributes studied with regard to storage time were the general appearance of the product, turgidity and package swelling. There was a significant correlation between the deterioration in sensorial quality and microbial evolution, which was even more marked at higher temperatures. After 13 days at 4°C, 6 days at 10°C, 5 days at 20°C and 84 h at 30°C organoleptic deterioration and, consequently, the end of shelf life were detected. A significant growth of spoilage flora was observed, which might be responsible for the drop in pH levels during the final period of analysis (from 6.3 to 3.5–4 until 148 h). There was greater lactic acid bacteria (LAB) growth as the temperature and CO2 concentration increased, reaching a final concentration of approximately 108 CFU g−1 at all temperatures. We found no positive samples of Clostridium spp at 10 and 4°C. Among the species isolated at 20–30°C Clostridium septicum and in lower proportions Clostridium perfringens were encountered. The possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes was analyzed, but there were no positive samples in the final product. Pasteurized white asparagus maintains good organoleptic characteristics with a relatively long shelf-life at low temperatures, which leads to an adequate acceptance among consumers. Copyright © 2006 Society of Chemical Industry

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