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Keywords:

  • artificial neural networks;
  • growth models;
  • predictive microbiology;
  • Listeria monocytogenes

ABSTRACT:  Different secondary modeling approaches for the estimation of Listeria monocytogenes growth rate as a function of temperature (4 to 30 °C), citric acid (0% to 0.4% w/v), and ascorbic acid (0% to 0.4% w/v) are presented. Response surface (RS) and square-root (SR) models are proposed together with different artificial neural networks (ANN) based on product functions units (PU), sigmoidal functions units (SU), and a novel approach based on the use of hybrid functions units (PSU), which results from a combination of PU and SU. In this study, a significantly better goodness-of-fit was obtained in the case of the ANN models presented, reflected by the lower SEP values obtained (< 24.23 for both training and generalization datasets). Among these models, the SU model provided the best generalization capacity, displaying lower RMSE and SEP values, with fewer parameters compared to the PU and PSU models. The bias factor (Bf) and accuracy factor (Af) of the mathematical validation dataset were above 1 in all cases, providing fail-safe predictions. The balance between generalization properties and the ease of use is the main consideration when applying secondary modeling approaches to achieve accurate predictions about the behavior of microorganisms.