Developing strategies to control B. cereus spores in food

Research Team:

Prof. Phil Bremer | Prof. Indrawati Oey | Mr. Pat Silcock | Ms Aswathi Soni 


Bacillus cereus is a pathogenic spore-forming bacterium that occurs naturally in a wide variety of foods. B. cereus spores remain a challenge to the food industry due to their resistance to heating and dehydration, and their ability to germinate and grow in foods held at low temperatures (Soni et al., 2016) . Bacillus cereus vegetative cells produce toxins which can cause diarrhoea and/or vomiting upon ingestion. Strategies to eliminate B. cereus from foods are increasingly becoming based on a hurdle approach as companies try to move away from using traditional high heat regimes that impact adversely on product functionality and fresh-like quality (Bermúdez-Aguirre et al., 2012; Silva, 2015). The current study is focused on gaining a mechanistic understanding of how pre-treatments can induce either injury or the onset of germination, thereby decreasing spore resistance to processing stresses and enabling the elimination of spores by using either less heat or lower energy processing options such as pulse electric field processing or high pressure processing.



Bermúdez-Aguirre, D., Dunne, C.P., Barbosa-Cánovas, G.V., 2012. Effect of processing parameters on inactivation of
Bacillus cereus spores in milk using pulsed electric fields. International Dairy Journal 24, 13-21.

Silva, F.V., 2015. High pressure processing of milk: Modeling the inactivation of psychrotrophic Bacillus cereus spores
at 38–70° C. Journal of Food Engineering 165, 141-148.

Soni, A., Oey, I., Silcock, P., Bremer, P., 2016. Bacillus Spores in the Food Industry: A Review on Resistance and
Response to Novel Inactivation Technologies. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 15,

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