The objective of this study was to determine the antimicrobial effect of a combination of potassium lactate and sodium diacetate (0, 1.8, 3, and 4.5%; PURASAL P Opti.Form 4, 60% solution) on the survival and growth of Listeria monocytogenes Scott A in pH-adjusted broth (5.5, 6.0, 6.5, and 7.0) stored at 4, 10, 17, 24, 30, and 37°C. Appropriate dilutions of broth were enumerated by spiral plating on tryptose agar and counted with an automated colony counter. Growth data were iteratively fit, using nonlinear regression analysis to a three-phase linear model, using GraphPad PRISM. At pH 5.5, the combination of lactate-diacetate fully inhibited (P < 0.001) the growth of L. monocytogenes at all four levels and six temperatures. At pH 6.0, addition of 1.8% lactate-diacetate reduced (P < 0.001) the specific growth rate of L. monocytogenes and increased lag time; however, 3 and 4.5% completely inhibited the growth at the six temperatures studied. Efficacy of the lactate-diacetate mixture was decreased as pH increased and incubation temperature increased. Thus, at pH 6.5, at least 3% was required to retard (P < 0.001) the growth of L. monocytogenes in broth. There was a limited effect of the lactate-diacetate level on the specific growth rate of the pathogen at pH 7.0. However, 1.8 and 3% significantly lengthened the lag time at 4 and 10°C. These results suggest that 1.8% of lactate-diacetate mixture can be used as a substantial hurdle to the growth of L. monocytogenes when refrigerated temperatures are maintained for products with pH less than 6.5.

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