Diacetyl is a flavor compound that possesses antimicrobial activity and is found in several dairy products. The effect of diacetyl on controlling the growth of two foodborne pathogens, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium, when grown with Pediococcus acidilactici as a meat starter culture was evaluated in a laboratory medium and during salami fermentation. Diacetyl (50 ppm) added to each mixed culture system strongly inhibited the growth of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium in the laboratory medium (brain heart infusion, 2.3% of NaCl, 0.75% of dextrose) (P < 0.05). During meat fermentation, the growth of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium was inhibited significantly by addition of diacetyl (300 ppm) (P < 0.05) after 24 h fermentation. However, the acid production and growth of P. acidilactici were not affected by the addition of diacetyl (P > 0.05). After 24 h meat fermentation, about a 1.0-log CFU/g difference occurred in numbers of each foodborne pathogen mixed with P. acidilactici (P < 0.05) with and without 300 ppm diacetyl. Diacetyl and the acid produced by the meat starter culture reduced the growth of the two foodborne pathogens during salami fermentation. These results suggest that diacetyl can be used as a food ingredient during meat fermentation to control E. coli O157: H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium without harmful effects on the growth and acid production of P. acidilactici.

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