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Scientia Agricola

On-line version ISSN 1678-992X


PACHECO-SANCHEZ, Cristiana de Paula  and  MASSAGUER, Pilar Rodriguez de. Bacillus cereus in Brazilian Ultra High Temperature milk. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) [online]. 2007, vol.64, n.2, pp.152-161. ISSN 1678-992X.

Brazilian Ultra High Temperature (UHT) milk consumption has increased during the last decade from 187 to 4,200 million liters. In the continuous UHT process, milk is submitted for 2-4 s to 130-150ºC, in a continuous flow system with immediate refrigeration and aseptical packing in hermetic packages. This research had the purpose to verify the incidence of B. cereus species from the B. cereus group, in UHT milk. In 1998 high indexes of these organisms were reported, reaching 34.14% of the analyzed samples. Beyond this fact, there was the need to establish methods and processes adjusted for correct identification of B. cereus. Thus, commercial sterility tests of 6,500 UHT milk packages were investigated in two assays, after ten days incubation at 37ºC and 7ºC to germinate all possible spores and/or to recuperate injured vegetative cells followed by pH measurement. Samples (1,300 packages each) from five Brazilian UHT plants of whole UHT milk processed by direct steam injection, packaged in carton were investigated for the presence of Bacillus cereus through phenotypic and genetic (PCR) tests. Values of pH were different for the samples, ranging between 6.57 and 6.73. After storage of the samples, only four packages with pH measurement below the lower limit of 6.5 were found and analyzed for the presence of B. cereus. This organism was not detected in any of the samples indicating that the five Brazilian UHT milk processors control pathogenic microorganisms and it can be said that the consumption of UHT milk does not present safety problems to consumers. Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and PCR tests were efficient and must be adopted to confirm the biochemical series for B. cereus.

Keywords : FTIR; PCR; commercial sterility; statistical analyses.

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