Effects of storage temperature on bacterial growth rates and community structure in fresh retail sushi
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Original versionJournal of Applied Microbiology. 2017, 123 (3), 698-709. 10.1111/jam.13527
Aims This study was conducted to assess the effects of different storage temperatures (4–20°C), on bacterial concentrations, growth rates and community structure in fresh retail sushi, a popular retail product with a claimed shelf life of 2–3 days. Methods and Results The maximum specific growth rate based on aerobic plate count (APC) at 4°C was 0·06 h−1 and displayed a sixfold increase (0·37 h−1) at 20°C. Refrigeration resulted in no growth of hydrogen sulphide (H2S)‐producing bacteria, but this group had the strongest temperature response. The bacterial community structure was determined by PCR/DGGE (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis). Multivariate analysis based on Bray–Curtis similarities demonstrated that temperature alone was not the major determinant for the bacterial community structure. The total concentration of aerobic bacteria was the variable that most successfully explained the differences between the communities. The dominating organisms, detected by sequencing of DNA bands excised from the DGGE gel, were Brochothrix thermosphacta and genera of lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Conclusion The relationship between growth rates and storage temperatures clearly demonstrates that these products are sensitive to deviations from optimal storage temperature, possibly resulting in loss of quality during shelf life. Regardless of the storage temperature, the bacterial communities converged towards a similar structure and density, but the storage temperature determined how fast the community reached its carrying capacity. Significance and Impact of the Study Little information is available on the microbial composition of ready‐to‐eat food that are prepared with raw fish, subjected to contamination during handling, and susceptible to microbial growth during cold storage. Moreover, the data are a good first possibility to simulate growth of APC, H2S‐producing bacteria and LAB under different temperature scenarios that might occur during production, distribution or storage.