Performance evaluation of a model describing the effects of temperature, water activity, pH and lactic acid concentration on the growth of Escherichia coli

Int J Food Microbiol. 2003 Jan 26;82(1):45-58. doi: 10.1016/s0168-1605(02)00253-2.


A square root-type model for Escherichia coli growth in response to temperature, water activity, pH and lactic acid was developed by Ross et al. [Int. J. Food Microbiol. (2002).]. Predicted generation times from the model were compared to the literature data using bias and accuracy factors, graphical comparisons and plots of residuals for data obtained from both liquid growth media and foods. The model predicted well for 1025 growth rate estimates reported in the literature after poor quality or unrepresentative data (n=215) was excluded, with a bias factor of 0.92, and an accuracy factor of 1.29. In a detailed comparison to two other predictive modes for E. coli growth, Pathogen Modeling Program (PMP) and Food MicroModel (FMM), the new model generally performed better. The new model consistently gave better predictions than the other models at generation times </=5 h. Inclusion of the lactic acid term in the model is proposed to account for the consistently good performance of the model for comparisons to growth in meat, a parameter that is not explicitly included in the other models considered in the comparisons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / cytology
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Food Microbiology
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics
  • Lactic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Temperature
  • Water / metabolism*


  • Water
  • Lactic Acid