Heating Medium

The heat resistance of a microorganism is frequently determined in a buffer such as phosphate buffer because it is a homogeneous, easily reproducible liquid. Moreover, when the heat resistances of microorganisms are determined in the same buffer, they can be compared. However, it is well known that foods may affect microbial heat resistance; heat resistance may be either higher or lower in a food compared with phosphate buffer. For example, fat may be protective of organisms, resulting in increases in resistance. Heat resistance can increase with reduced water activity, and it will be affected by the pH of the heating medium. Thus, determining the heat resistance of a microorganism in a food more accurately predicts the thermal process requirements. However, food products are more difficult to work with than buffer.

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