Growth prediction of two bacterial populations in co-culture with lactic acid bacteria

Food Sci Technol Int. 2019 Dec;25(8):692-700. doi: 10.1177/1082013219860360. Epub 2019 Jul 7.


The co-culture growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and lactic acid bacteria starter culture in milk was quantitatively evaluated and modelled with a set of coupled differential equations originally proposed by Baranyi and Roberts and by Gimenez and Dalgaard (BR-GD model). The lactic acid bacteria starter culture showed the ability to induce an early stationary phase of both E. coli and S. aureus populations at different combination of temperature (ranging from 12 to 37 ℃) and lactic acid bacteria inocula (from approx. 103 to 106 CFU/ml). First, the prediction ability was performed only with parameters estimated from individual growth curves of E. coli, S. aureus and the lactic acid bacteria in milk (Dataset 1, 21 experiments). Subsequently, the model was extended with the average competition coefficients (E-BR-GD model) that represented quantitative relations among the populations. The prediction ability of this model was validated with the second dataset consisting of seven experiments. Results and also their statistical indices (accuracy and bias factors) showed that the E-BR-GD model improved growth prediction of all involved populations. Thus, the total root mean square error decreased from 0.457, 0.840 and 0.322 log CFU/ml (BR-GD model) to 0.290, 0.245 and 0.333 log CFU/ml (E-BR-GD) for S. aureus, E. coli and lactic acid bacteria, respectively. This approach in growth prediction of multiple competing microbial populations can be used in assessment of S. aureus and E. coli exposure from raw milk cheeses consumption and contribute to decision making in prevention of staphylococcal enterotoxin production.

Keywords: Growth in co-culture; competition model; milk; prediction.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cheese
  • Coculture Techniques / methods*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Enterotoxins
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development*
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Lactobacillales / growth & development*
  • Milk / microbiology*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development*
  • Temperature


  • Enterotoxins