The effect of a high-pressure treatment on the survival of a pressure-resistant strain of Escherichia coli O157:H7 (NCTC 12079) in orange juice during storage at 3°C was investigated over the pH range of 3.4 to 5.0. The pH of shelf-stable orange juice was adjusted to 3.4, 3.6, 3.9, 4.5, and 5.0 and inoculated with 108 CFU ml−1 of E. coli O157:H7. The orange juice was then pressure treated at 400 MPa for 1 min at 10°C or was held at ambient pressure (as a control). Surviving E. coli O157: H7 cells were enumerated at 1-day intervals during a storage period of 25 days at 3°C. Survival of E. coli O157:H7 during storage was dependent on the pH of the orange juice. The application of high pressure prior to storage significantly increased the susceptibility of E. coli O157:H7 to high acidity. For example, after pressure treatment, the time required for a 5-log decrease in cell numbers was reduced from 13 to 3 days at pH 3.4, from 16 to 6 days at pH 3.6, and from >25 to 8 days at pH 3.9. It is evident that the use of high-pressure processing of orange juice in order to increase the juice's shelf-life and to inactivate pathogens has the added advantage that it sensitizes E. coli O157:H7 to the high acid conditions found in orange juice, which results in the survival of significantly fewer E. coli O157:H7 during subsequent refrigerated storage.

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