Though Staphylococcus aureus can grow in foods within a broad range of environmental conditions, production of enterotoxins occurs within a much narrower range. In situations that permit growth of S. aureus, oxygen tension and associative growth of other microorganisms affect enterotoxin production more adversely than other factors such as temperature, pH, and water activity. Minimal amounts of enterotoxins or none may be produced in raw, semiprocessed, or fermented foods when there is competitive growth of other microorganisms unless such growth is retarded by bacteriophages, antibiotics, organic acids, and processing conditions such as curing and heating.

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Author notes

1Presented at the Seminar on Staphylococcal Enterotoxins, 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, Miami Beach, Florida, May 6–11, 1973. Paper No. 8410 of the Scientific Journal Series, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.