The effect of sodium chloride and temperature on the rate and extent of growth of Clostridium botulinum type A in pasteurized pork slurry



A selective medium was used to enumerate Clostridium botulinum growing in the presence of natural spoilage organisms in a model cured pork slurry. The growth responses of a mixed spore inoculum of six strains of Cl. botulinum type A were studied at 15°, 20° and 27°C with 1˙5, 2˙5, 3˙5 or 4˙5% (w/v) salt added (aw range 0961–0990). Gompertz and logistic curves, which have a sigmoid shape, were fitted to the data and lag times, growth rates, generation times and time to maximum growth rates were derived. Variation in germination rates of the spores occasionally gave a falsely extended lag time resulting in an exceptionally high estimate for growth rate. Products containing 4˙5% (w/v) NaCl would be capable of supporting growth of proteolytic strains of Cl. botulinum, even at 15°C, although the lag period would be extended. In products where absence of Cl. botulinum cannot be assured additional preservative measures are essential. The information obtained provides a framework to investigate the effects of a wider range of additives or variables on the growth responses of Cl. botulinum.