Pseudomonas fluorescens suspended in skim milk was inactivated by application of pulsed electric fields (PEF) either alone or in combination with acetic or propionic acid. The initial concentration of microorganisms ranged from 105 to 106 CFU/ml. Addition of acetic acid and propionic acid to skim milk inactivated 0.24 and 0.48 log CFU/ml P. fluorescens, respectively. Sets of 10, 20, and 30 pulses were applied to the skim milk using exponentially decaying pulses with pulse lengths of 2 μs and pulse frequencies of 3 Hz. Treatment temperature was maintained between 16 and 20°C. In the absence of organic acids, PEF treatment of skim milk at field intensities of 31 and 38 kV/cm reduced P. fluorescens populations by 1.0 to 1.8 and by 1.2 to 1.9 log CFU/ml, respectively. Additions of acetic and propionic acid to the skim milk in a pH range of 5.0 to 5.3 and PEF treatment at 31, 33, and 34 kV/cm, and 36, 37, and 38 kV/cm reduced the population of P. fluorescens by 1.4 and 1.8 log CFU/ml, respectively. No synergistic effect resulted from the combination of PEF with acetic or propionic acid.

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