Development of a model describing the inhibitory effect of selected preservatives on the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in a meat model system

Food Microbiol. 2016 Feb;53(Pt B):115-21. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2015 Sep 21.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of seven independent factors consisting of sodium nitrite, pH, sodium chloride, sodium acetate, sodium lactate syrup, calcium propionate and a blend of nisin and hop alpha acids on the growth rate of Listeria monocytogenes in ham as a model of ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products. A central composite consisted of seven factors mentioned above was designed and the response surface methodology was applied for creating a mathematic model to predict the growth rate of L. monocytogenes in RTE meat products. Six parameters showed a significant (P ≤ 0.1) influence on the growth rate of L. monocytogenes. Only the blend of nisin and hop alpha acids did not show any significant effect (P > 0.1) in the concentrations used in this study. Increasing concentration of sodium chloride, sodium nitrite, sodium acetate, potassium lactate and calcium propionate in meat reduced bacterial growth rate while increasing pH in meat increased the growth rate of L. monocytogenes. The current mathematical equation will be an important tool in order to reduce the required number of challenge studies performed in order to ensure a safe food product.

Keywords: Deli meat; Listeria monocytogenes; Mathematical modeling; Nisin; Nitrite; Organic acids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Fast Foods / microbiology*
  • Food Contamination / analysis
  • Food Preservation
  • Food Preservatives / pharmacology*
  • Listeria monocytogenes / drug effects*
  • Listeria monocytogenes / growth & development*
  • Meat Products / microbiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Swine


  • Food Preservatives