Listeria monocytogenes, a psychrotrophic microorganism, has been the cause of several food-borne illness outbreaks, including those traced back to pasteurized fluid milk and milk products. This microorganism is especially important because it can grow at storage temperatures recommended for milk (< or =7 degrees C). Growth of L. monocytogenes in fluid milk depends to a large extent on the varying temperatures it is exposed to in the postpasteurization phase, i.e., during in-plant storage, transportation, and storage at retail stores. Growth data for L. monocytogenes in sterilized whole milk were collected at 4, 6, 8, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 35 degrees C. Specific growth rate and maximum population density were calculated at each temperature using these data. The data for growth rates versus temperature were fitted to the Zwietering square root model. This equation was used to develop a dynamic growth model (i.e., the Baranyi dynamic growth model or BDGM) for L. monocytogenes based on a system of equations which had an intrinsic parameter for simulating the lag phase. Results from validation of the BDGM for a rapidly fluctuating temperature profile showed that although the exponential growth phase of the culture under dynamic temperature conditions was modeled accurately, the lag phase duration was overestimated. For an alpha0 (initial physiological state parameter) value of 0.137, which corresponded to the mean temperature of 15 degrees C, the population densities were underpredicted, although the experimental data fell within the narrow band calculated for extreme values of alpha0. The maximum relative error between the experimental data and the curve based on an average alpha0 value was 10.42%, and the root mean square error was 0.28 log CFU/ml.