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Keywords:

  • bacteria;
  • inactivation;
  • milk;
  • scanning electron microscopy;
  • sonoprotective effect;
  • ultrasound waves

Abstract:  Inactivation of Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes were investigated in buffer and milk upon treatment with ultrasound waves (USW). In addition, sonoprotective effect of milk components and ultrasound-induced changes in bacterial cells were investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Bacterial cells were added to phosphate buffer, whole milk, skim milk, or simulated milk ultrafiltrate (SMUF). To determine the sonoprotective effect of milk components, lactose (5%), casein (3%), or β lactoglobulin (0.3%) was added to SMUF. Samples were sonicated with 24 kHz pulse USW while maintaining the system temperature between 30 to 35 °C. Aliquots were drawn at set times during sonication and bacteria were enumerated by surface plating appropriate dilutions on selective and nonselective media plates. Escherichia coli exhibited significantly higher D values in whole (2.43 min) and skim milk (2.41 min) than phosphate buffer (2.19 min). Listeria monocytogenes also showed higher D values in whole (9.31 min) and skim milk (8.61 min) compared to phosphate buffer (7.63 min). Data suggest that milk exerts a sonoprotective effect on these bacteria. Escherichia coli exhibited a log-linear inactivation kinetics followed by tailing whereas L. monocytogenes showed 1st-order kinetics throughout. Among the milk components tested, presence of lactose in SMUF resulted in significantly higher D values than SMUF for both organisms suggesting that lactose was exerting a protective effect on bacteria. SEM images showed that USW caused mechanical damage to the cell wall and cell membrane of bacteria leading to their inactivation.