The effect of gamma irradiation on the natural microflora of whole salted vacuum-packaged trout at 4 and 10°C was studied. In addition, the effectiveness of gamma irradiation in controlling Listeria monocytogenes inoculated into trout was investigated. Irradiation at doses of 0.5 and 2 kGy affected populations of bacteria, namely, Pseudomonas spp., Brochothrix thermosfacta, lactic acid bacteria, H2S-producing bacteria typical of Shewanella putrefaciens, and Enterobacteriaceae, at both 4 and 10°C. This effect was more pronounced at the higher dose (2 kGy) and the lower temperature (4°C). Pseudomonads, H2S-producing bacteria typical of S. putrefaciens, and Enterobacteriaceae showed higher sensitivity to gamma irradiation than did the rest of the microbial species. Sensory evaluation did not show a good correlation with bacterial populations. On the basis of sensory odor scores, a shelf life of 28 days (2 kGy, 4°C) was obtained for salted vacuum-packaged freshwater trout, compared with a shelf life of 7 days for the unirradiated sample. Under the same conditions, the growth of L. monocytogenes inoculated into the samples was suppressed by 2 log cycles after irradiation (2 kGy) and storage for up to 18 days at 4°C.

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