The scope of the present study was to assess the spoilage potential of different Alicyclobacillus spp. in commercial pasteurized (ambient-stable) plant-based dairy beverages mixed with fruit juices at different inoculation levels and storage temperatures. Different products (Coconut and Berry‒CB; Almond, Mango, and Passionfruit‒AMP; Oat, Strawberry, and Banana‒OSB) were inoculated with 10 or 2x103 spores/mL of either Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris or A. fastidiosus or A. acidocaldarius strain composites, while non‒inoculated samples served as controls. Samples inoculated with A. acidoterrestris and A. fastidiosus were stored at 30°C and 45°C, while in case of A. acidocaldarius storage took place at 50°C for 240 days. Gas composition, Alicyclobacillus spp. populations, total viable counts, pH, aw, color, and guaiacol off-taste were monitored. CB and AMP supported growth of A. acidoterrestris and A. fastidiosus, reaching populations of 4.0‒5.0 log CFU/mL. In OSB, populations of the latter species remained close to the initial inoculation levels during storage at 30°C, while at 45°C, the populations declined <1 CFU/mL. A. acidocaldarius growth was supported only in CB samples, reaching ca. 3.0 log CFU/mL at 50°C, regardless of initial inoculum size. Total color change was increased during storage, however the instrumentally recorded color changes were not macroscopically visible. Spoilage in terms of guaiacol off-taste, was identified only in CB and AMP samples inoculated with A. acidoterrestris after 60 days at 30°C and 45°C. Considering that these products are becoming increasingly popular and the scarcity of existing literature related to their spoilage by Alicyclobacillus spp., the contribution of the findings and data of present study are critical for assessing the significance of Alicyclobacillus spp. as a potential spoilage hazard in these products and thus, to assist in the design and implementation of effective mitigation strategies by the beverage industry.

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