The ability of solutions of tripotassium phosphate (TPP) and fatty acids (lauric and myristic acids) to reduce populations of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms associated with processed poultry was examined. In vitro studies were conducted with cultures of bacteria (Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Staphylococcus aureus) and yeasts (Candida ernobii and Yarrowia lipolytica). Cultures of the bacteria and yeasts were suspended in solutions of TPP or mixtures of TPP with lauric or myristic acid and mixed for 5 min. Viable numbers (log CFU per milliliter) in the suspensions were enumerated on microbiological agar. Results indicated that TPP solutions are highly bactericidal toward gram-negative bacteria and that mixtures of TPP and fatty acids are highly microbicidal toward gram-negative bacteria, gram-positive bacteria, and yeasts. The microbicidal activity of mixtures of TPP and fatty acids toward the native bacterial flora of skin of processed broiler carcasses was also examined. Skin samples were washed in mixtures of TPP and fatty acid, and the populations of total aerobic bacteria, campylobacters, enterococci, E. coli, lactic acid bacteria, pseudomonads, staphylococci, and yeasts in the skin rinsates were enumerated on the appropriate microbiological media. Results indicated that washing the skin in mixtures of TPP and fatty acids produced significant reductions in the number of aerobic bacteria, campylobacters, E. coli, pseudomonads, and yeasts recovered from skin rinsates, but there was no significant reduction in the populations of enterococci, lactic acid bacteria, or staphylococci. These findings indicate that mixtures of TPP and fatty acids possess microbicidal activity against several microorganisms associated with processed poultry and that these solutions could be useful as microbicides to reduce the populations of some bacteria and yeasts associated with some poultry processing operations.

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