Abstract: In this study, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) was used to investigate the changes in the composition of the bacterial population of tray-packaged pork during chilled storage. Relative quantitative real-time PCR was further used to evaluate the predominant spoilage bacteria obtained from DGGE analysis for their relative amount to the total bacteria in meat samples. DGGE analysis of the V3 and V6-V8 regions of the 16S rRNA gene showed that Pseudomonas were the predominant bacterial species at the end of the monitoring period. Real-time PCR expressed as the ΔΔCT method showed that the average 2−ΔΔCT values increased continually during the storage period from less than 0.001 at day 0 to 4.438 at the end of the monitoring, which indicated that the proportions of Pseudomonas within the total bacteria in meat samples increased. Both methods confirmed that Pseudomonas was the predominant spoilage bacteria.
Practical Application: This study uses new techniques to identify bacteria in fresh retail pork and to follow changes in the bacterial population during 12 d refrigerated storage. Pseudomonads were found to increase with storage time, becoming the dominant flora after 12 d.