Growth of Bacteria on Meat at Room Temperatures
The development of spoilage flora and the growth of individual psychrotrophs and pathogens on meat held at 20 or 30°C were studied. Under aerobic conditions psychrotrophic pseudomonads accounted for 60% of the spoilage flora at 20°C, but <20% at 30°C where they were displaced by species of Acinetobacter and Enterobacteriaceae which included both mesophilic and psychrotrophic strains. Mesophiles dominated the anaerobic spoilage flora at 30°C when clostridia were the major species, but at 20° the flora contained mesophiles and psychrotrophs in similar proportions and was dominated by Enterobacteriaceae. These results were largely predictable from the growth rate data for individual organisms.
Interactions between species occurred more frequently at 20°C than at 30°C. When pathogenic species were grown at 20 or 30°Cin competition with equal numbers of psychrotrophic spoilage organisms, no interactions were observed. When pathogens were grown in competition with high numbers of psychrotrophs, only Lactobacillus growing anaerobically inhibited Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli, but other pathogens were inhibited to varying degrees depending on the competing species and the incubation conditions. In general, the degree of inhibition was greater at 20 than at 30°C and facultative organisms were more susceptible under anaerobic than aerobic conditions. It appears that the cumulative stresses of low pH, suboptimal temperatures and competition with large numbers of saprophytic organisms can inhibit many of the pathogens likely to be present on meat. The organisms least affected by the conditions on meat surfaces, Salmonella and Esch. coli, are likely to be the main hazards on meat of normal pH held at room temperatures.