The effect of lactic acid on growth and survival of Listeria monocytogenes in crayfish tail meat stored under refrigeration and various gas environments was investigated. Frozen crayfish tail meat was thawed overnight, autoclaved, cooled, and inoculated with approximately 4 log colony-forming units (CFU) of a mixed-strain (Scott A and F5027) L. monocytogenes culture per gram of meat. Inoculated samples were blended with 0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0% lactic acid and packaged under air, vacuum, or modified atmosphere (74.8% CO2, 10.4% O2, and 14.8% N2) and stored at 4°C for 20 days. Results demonstrated that modified atmosphere packaging inhibited the growth of L. monocytogenes more than air and vacuum packaging at 0 and 1% lactic acid. Microbial counts declined steadily in crayfish tail meat treated with 2% lactic acid, with no differences among the packaging atmospheres. The lag phase was extended by 8 days in samples treated with 1% lactic acid and modified atmosphere compared to that in air or vacuum packaging. Overall, the combination of lactic acid and modified atmosphere had the greatest potential to prevent growth of L. monocytogenes.

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