Thermal stability of structurally different viruses with proven or potential relevance to food safety

J Appl Microbiol. 2012 May;112(5):1050-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2012.05282.x. Epub 2012 Mar 30.


Aims: To collect comparative data on thermal stability of structurally different viruses with proven or potential relevance to food safety.

Methods and results: Suspensions with poliovirus Sabin1, adenovirus type5, parechovirus1, human norovirus (NoV) GII.4, murine NoV (MNV1) and human influenza A (H1N1) viruses were heated at 56 and 73°C. Infectivity was tested by culture assay for all but human NoV GII.4 that cannot be cultivated in vitro. Time to first log(10) reduction (TFL-value) was calculated based on best fit using the monophasic, biphasic or Weibull models. The Weibull model provided the best fit at 56°C for all viruses except influenza virus. The TFL at 56°C varied between a high of 27 min (parechovirus) to a low of 10 s (adenovirus) and ranked parechovirus > influenza > MNV1 > poliovirus > adenovirus. The monophasic model best described the behaviour of the viruses at 73°C, in which case the TFL was MNV1(62s) > influenza > adenovirus > parechovirus > poliovirus(14s).

Conclusions: Viruses do not follow log-linear thermal inactivation kinetics and the thermostability of parechovirus and influenza virus is similar to that of proven foodborne viruses.

Significance and impact of the study: Resistant fractions of viruses may remain infectious in thermal inactivation processes and inactivation of newly discovered or enveloped viruses in thermal food preparation processes should not be assumed without further testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / physiology*
  • Adenoviridae Infections / transmission*
  • Adenoviridae Infections / virology
  • Animals
  • Food Contamination
  • Food Handling
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Food Safety*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • RNA Virus Infections / transmission*
  • RNA Virus Infections / virology
  • RNA Viruses / physiology*