Models to predict days to growth and probability of growth of Zygosaccharomyces bailii in high-acid foods were developed, and the equations are presented here. The models were constructed from measurements of growth of Z. bailii using automated turbidimetry over a 29-day period at various pH, NaCl, fructose, and acetic acid levels. Statistical analyses were carried out using Statistical Analysis Systems LIFEREG procedures, and the data were fitted to log-logistic models. Model 1 predicts days to growth based on two factors, combined molar concentration of salt plus sugar and undissociated acetic acid. This model allows a growth/no-growth boundary to be visualized. The boundary is comparable with that established by G. Tuynenburg Muys (Process Biochem. 6:25–28, 1971), which still forms the basis of industry assumptions about the stability of acidic foods. Model 2 predicts days to growth based on the four independent factors of salt, sugar, acetic acid, and pH levels and is, therefore, much more useful for product development. Validation data derived from challenge studies in retail products from the U.S. market are presented for Model 2, showing that the model gives reliable, fail-safe predictions and is suitable for use in predicting growth responses of Z. bailii in high-acid foods. Model 3 predicts probability of growth of Z. bailii in 29 days. This model is most useful for spoilage risk assessment. All three models showed good agreement between predictions and observed values for the underlying data.

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Author notes

Present address: Food Science Australia, 16 Julius Avenue, Riverside Corporate Park, P.O. Box 52, North Ryde 1670, Australia.