• Bulk raw milk;
  • Interaction with milk components;
  • Meteorological factors;
  • Recovery of Bacillus spp

Psychrotrophic, mesophilic and thermophilic spore concentrations of Bacillus spp. were determined on a weekly basis in bulk raw milk samples obtained from a central processing facility, over one calendar year. These data were correlated with concentrations of metal ions, free amino acids and somatic cell counts obtained from the same samples, as well as local meteorological mean temperature and relative humidity measurements relating to the same test period. A heat treatment of 80°C for 20 min followed by the addition of L-alanine to the milk at 0.1% w/v and incubation at 55°C for 7 days gave optimal recovery conditions for thermophilic spores. Free amino acids, metal ions, somatic cell counts, temperature, and relative humidity measurements were each significantly correlated with the recovery of spores of Bacillus spp. from bulk raw milk, although no single factor was shown to demonstrate a consistent effect with the psychrotrophic, mesophilic and thermophilic spore groups studied.