Attachment and survival of bacteria on apples with the creation of a kinetic mathematical model


The estimation of growth or inactivation of bacterial population in fruits during preservation and storage provides useful information for the improvement of the safety of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. This paper addressed the attachment to the surface and the growth in the flesh of apple fruits of four bacterial cultures (Escherichia coli, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa). The growth of the bacterial cultures in apple flesh was monitored at particular time intervals, and Gompertz parameters, i.e. maximum number of bacteria (Pm), the maximum growth rate of bacteria rp,m, and lag time tl, were used to determine the growth kinetics. After the immersion, the highest number of P. aeruginosa and the lowest number of B. cereus adhered to the apples. After washing and swabbing, E. coli was reduced from the surface of apples to the highest extent (by 3.34 log cfu g−1), while the number of B. cereus was reduced to the lowest extent (1.66 log cfu g−1). Fitted curves of the Gompertz model corresponded quite well to the measured values of the number of microorganisms with R2 = 0.92–0.98. The values of the standard error (0.17–0.37) and extremely low p values of the Fischer test (p < 0.0001) indicated strict dependence between the model predicted and the maximum population density. The predicted values of the maximum number of microorganisms (Pm) correspond almost exactly to the actual values. A similar conclusion can be drawn for the maximum growth rate of microorganisms (rp,m), with the measured value being slightly higher than predicted values.

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This study is a result of the research conducted within the Project (19/6-020/961-19/14) financially supported by the Ministry for Scientific and Technological Development, Higher Education and Information Society of the Republic of Srpska.

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A.S., Lj-T-T, A.V., S.P. and V.K. conceived and designed the experiments; performed the experiments; analysed the data; contributed reagents, materials and analytical tools; and wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to Ana Velemir.

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Savić, A., Topalić-Trivunović, L., Velemir, A. et al. Attachment and survival of bacteria on apples with the creation of a kinetic mathematical model. Braz J Microbiol (2021).

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  • Bacterial attachment and survival
  • Growth kinetics
  • Gompertz parameters