Predictive modeling of bacterial growth in ready-to-use salted napa cabbage (Brassica pekinensis) at different storage temperatures
Abstract The objectives of the current study were to investigate the fate of microbial indicators [aerobic plate counts (APC), total coliforms (TC), and lactic acid bacteria (LAB)] in commercial salted napa cabbages during storage conditions at different temperatures (5, 22, and 30 °C, for up to 72 h) and to develop a predictive growth model using the modified Gompertz equation to determine shelf life. Microbial population sizes (initial log CFU g −1 : APC, 5.1; TC, 3.0; LAB, 3.7) remained stable at 5 °C, but rapidly increased by 2–4 log CFU g −1 within 12 h at 22 and 30 °C; furthermore, the pH of salted napa cabbages decreased significantly ( P 2 ≧ 0.97), the highest μ max was observed for LAB at 30 °C [0.61 log CFU h −1 ], while the lowest was noted for TC at 5 °C [0.04 log CFU h −1 ]. Shelf-life was determined using APC (7.7 log CFU g −1 ) and LAB (6.0 log CFU g −1 ) limits; the microbiological acceptability period of salted napa cabbage was predicted to be 12.6 and 9.3 h at 22 and 30 °C, respectively. Thus, consumers should use the product within 12 h of storage at room temperature (more quickly in the summer (9 h)), or store it in a refrigerator. The presented research proposes a shelf-life modeling of commercial salted napa cabbages, which may be used as a scientific basis for product quality control and issuing appropriate guidance for consumer use at home. Highlights A first-ever study of the microbiological shelf life of salted napa cabbage (SNC). Bacterial growth data fitted the modified Gompertz model, with R 2 ≧ 0.97. A decrease of pH on lactic acid fermentation did not inhibit total coliform growth. Consumers should use SNC within 12 and 9 h of storage at 22 and 30 °C, respectively.
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