Thermal denaturation and loss of viability in Escherichia coli and Bacillus stearothermophilus



When Escherichia coli was heated at 10°C/min in a differential scanning calorimeter, the onset of irreversible thermal denaturation occurred at 51°C, about 5°C above the maximum growth temperature. The temperature at which death rate was maximal (63°C) coincided with the thermogram peak caused by denaturation of the 30S ribosomal subunit. The maximum death rate in vegetative cells of Bacillus stearothermophilus occurred at the higher temperature of 71°C which also coincided with the leading edge of the main thermogram peak.