Borrelia burgdorferi strain EBNI was cultivated in BSK-II medium at 34°C, then cultures at different physiological states were heat-treated at temperatures in the range of 50 to 70°C. Numbers of survivors were estimated by the Most Probable Number technique. Log MPN was plotted against treatment time, and resulting survivor curves were linear. Estimated D-values for cultures incubated at 34°C for 7 d before heat-treatment were 5.5, 4.3, 2.7, .47, and .14 min at 50, 55, 60, 65, and 70°C, respectively. Spirochetes in the lag phase had greater resistance to heat than those in the stationary phase, with the latter being more resistant to heat than spirochetes in the same phase of growth but refrigerated at 4°C for 3 d. D-values for B. burgdorferi are generally less at 50°C, and greater at 70°C than those reported for other nonsporeforming pathogens. When log10 MPN was plotted against treatment temperature, two linear segments for each thermal death curve were obtained. Our data show the spirochete had higher z-values than most nonsporeforming pathogens. The pH of the medium, in the range of 5.0 to 7.6, did not affect resistance of B. burgdorferi to heat.

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Author notes

1Department of Food Science (Babcock Hall), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1605 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706