Enhanced botulinal toxin development in beef sausages containing decolourized red blood cell fractions



Toxin production by Clostridium botulinum was studied in a model cured beef sausage containing decolourized dried bovine red blood cells (RBC), including intact RBC, acetone-treated RBC, enzyme-treated RBC, peroxide-treated RCB or plasma. Samples were formulated with beef shoulder, curing agents and spores of proteolytic strains of Clostridium botulinum. Vacuum packaged samples were heated to 72°C, stored at 28°C, and tested weekly. Sausages contained iron levels proportional to the iron in the blood fraction. Residual nitrite levels varied between < 10–40 μg g-1. Toxin was detected earlier in samples containing higher levels of iron except for acetone-treated RBC. Higher pH values were associated with shorter times to toxin detection. We conclude that the RBC decolourization method can significantly modulate Cl. botulinum growth and toxigenesis.