• heat;
  • irradiation;
  • liquid whole egg;
  • microbial inactivation;
  • Salmonella

ABSTRACT:  This study presents mathematical models that describe the inactivation of Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Salmonella Senftenberg suspended in liquid whole egg (LWE) by irradiation followed by heat treatments (IR-H treatments). These models also enable prediction of cell injury in Salmonella after exposure to IR-H. Salmonella viability decreased exponentially (primary model) with heat treating time for all the radiation doses (0, 0.1, 0.3, 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 kGy) and temperatures investigated (55, 57, and 60 °C). Two secondary models that related the DT values (time required to eliminate 90% of viable cells at a given temperature) with radiation dose, heating temperature, and recovery medium after treatments were also developed. The developed final equations enabled to establish the process criterion (combinations of irradiation doses, temperature, and heat treatment times) required to achieve a given reduction (performance criterion) in Salmonella spp. suspended in LWE or the cell damage caused by the treatments. Process criteria to obtain the established performance criteria (a 5-log10 reduction) on any of the investigated Salmonella serovars were determined to be, 57.7 °C/3.5 min following 1.5 kGy when treated cells were recovered in tryptic soy agar and 59.3 °C/3.5 min following 0.5 kGy when cells were recovered in tryptic soy agar amended with 3% NaCl. Based on our results, current industrial LWE heat treatments (60 °C/3.5 min) would inactivate 3 log10 cycles of the Salmonella population. The results of this study can be applied to engineering design and for the evaluation and optimization of the IR-H process as a new technique to obtain Salmonella-free LWE.