ABSTRACT

Foods that are extensively handled during preparation and stored without refrigeration are often associated with staphylococcal food poisoning. This problem is more confounding when contaminating strains belong to the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) group. In this study, we investigated the survivability of MRSA in two seafood matrices under different storage conditions. MRSA was inoculated at 6 and 3 log CFU/g into all sample groups of peeled shrimp (Parapeneopsis stylifera) stored at −20°C, Bombay duck fish (Harpadon nehereus) stored in ice, and dried Bombay duck fish stored at 30 ± 2°C. The populations of MRSA in frozen peeled shrimp inoculated with MRSA at 6 log CFU/g were reduced by 1.52 log CFU/g, whereas in samples inoculated with 3 log CFU/g levels remained stable after 60 days of storage. In fresh Bombay duck fish inoculated with 6 log CFU/g and stored in ice for 18 days, MRSA levels decreased by 2.75 log CFU/g. In contrast, in fresh fish inoculated with 3 log CFU/g the total viable count increased by 3.02 log CFU/g over 16 days of ice storage. In dried fish stored at 30 ± 2°C, MRSA levels declined by 3.27 log CFU/g in samples inoculated with 6 log CFU/g and by 0.91 log CFU/g in samples inoculated with 3 log CFU/g. These results suggest that the survival of MRSA depends on the temperature of storage and the inoculum level. In our study, MRSA survival was higher when inoculated at 3 log CFU/g regardless of the seafood matrix and storage temperature.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • MRSA survival differed depending on the seafood matrix and the inoculation level.

  • MRSA survival was greater at lower inoculation levels.

  • MRSA levels did not change significantly in peeled shrimp stored at −20°C for 60 days.

  • MRSA levels remained stable in ice-stored and dried fish inoculated at 3 log CFU/g.

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