The combined effects of temperature (5 to 42°C), NaCl (0.5 to 4.5%), pH (5.3 to 7.3), and NaN02 (0 to 200 μg/ml) on the aerobic growth of Aeromonas hydrophila K144 were studied in brain heart infusion (BHI) broth using a modified central composite design. Variable combinations were tested in triplicate aerobic flasks; viable cell counts were made at intervals during incubation by surface plating on tryptic soy agar. Growth curves were generated using the Gompertz equation in conjunction with a nonlinear iterative regression analysis. Values for the four Gompertz parameters (A, C, B, and M) were obtained for the variable combinations tested. Using response surface techniques, quadratic and cubic equations containing the four variables of temperature, pH, NaCl, and NaN02 were developed to yield predictive values for the B and M Gompertz values. Goodness of fit evaluation of the models was by R2 values. Comparison of predicted and observed values of B and M and evaluation of predicted lag times and generation times indicated that the quadratic model gave a better fit. Overall, the variable combinations interacted to decrease the generation time and increase the lag time. The results indicate that pH, salt, and nitrite can decrease the growth of A. hydrophila when combined with low temperature incubation.

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